Dear Mayor and Council:
I am submitting this letter in support of the rezoning application for the proposed development of 220 Cook Street. I have lived in the adjacent building for several years and this project is exactly what Cook Street Village needs. It is the only logical space for an extension of the Village’s commercial frontage and capacity but also adds over 60 residential units to the area. This is the type of density development that Victoria needs to focus on, especially in the “Large Urban Villages” as defined by our Official Community Plan.
I was originally made aware of the project by notice to attend a community consultation meeting in December hosted by my Neighbourhood Association. I appreciate that the developer actually listened to those of us who voiced our opinions at the meeting, as far too often, local residents are not thoroughly consulted with. Earlier this year, he also took the time to call a meeting with all the residents of my building for further neighbourhood feedback. It has been a very engaging process and I hope this level of dedication to community consultation can stand as a model for future development proposals in the City of Victoria.
I have been disappointed by the level of discourse from the minority opposition to this project. I understand that four individuals met with Mayor Helps recently to express their desire to stop the project, and I fully encourage more of that kind of public participation. However, it is the letters distributed throughout the village today which trouble me, which is why I am taking the time to write this letter on my birthday after having just seen their messaging. Shamefully, the letters are anonymous and contain blatant misinformation, such as stating the development will be an entire storey taller than proposed. Stooping to such a petty level is not positive for the process, nor the community. Those who fear change and stand as obstacles to progress do so to the detriment of the community, and their habitual discontent will never be satisfied, short of Victoria implementing a Metchosin-style model of development.
I look forward to this new building and its commercial tenants becoming an integral part of Cook Street Village much like Prima Strada Pizzeria, Moka House, Bubby Rose’s, Mother Nature’s Market, and The Beagle Pub all have over the years. It is hard to imagine today that most of those places, now village institutions, faced opposition as well. Thank you for your time, and hopefully your support of the proposal.
Andrew J. Reeve