A group of residents in Nanaimo want to do whatever it takes to save a piece of green space from being lost to development.
Vicki Adamson and Brent Hargreaves are part of a citizen-organized group called Save Linley Valley’s Hidden Ridge, aiming to stop a large residential development proposed for Tanya Drive and protect a portion of Linley Valley green space.
The development in question is a proposal from Broadview Developments that calls for the construction of a 29.3-hectare residential subdivision at the end of Tanya Drive. The developers held an open house earlier this year to show off their plans for the site and inform residents that they are seeking to have the property rezoned from an urban reserve to steep slope residential, which would allow them to subdivide and build residential housing.
“This area acts as a buffer zone for the plants and animals and wildlife in this part of the park,” Hargreaves said. “If we don’t save this piece of land or at least limit the development in it, I think we risk losing the whole park.”
Save Linley Valley’s Hidden Ridge has created a petition calling on Nanaimo city councillors to reject the development, work with residents to develop a plan for Linley Valley and the surrounding neighbourhoods and add the Hidden Ridge property to Linley Valley-Cottle Lake Park.
The group has received more than 700 signatures supporting the petition according to Adamson, who said members have met with local organizations, held neighbourhood meetings and received a letter of support from Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog. She said the group isn’t against development in general, but wants to see the area protected for future generations.
“We need to not look at the developmental value of this property, instead we need to look at the recreational and environmental value of this property,” Adamson said.
She said Linley Valley is a gem with forests, ridges and wetlands that must be protected, adding that the land is home to all kinds of wildlife, including eagles, owls and beavers and if the development were to occur, their habitat could be destroyed. She said her group is also concerned about increased traffic and potential drainage issues that would result from the development.
“It is such a steep slope, everything that would be built here, all that [water] runoff would go into the already existing park and all that wetland, marsh, everything that is really the lungs of our Earth is going to be lost,” Adamson said.
Jared Steingard, project manager with Broadview Developments, said his company has met with Save Linley Valley’s Hidden Ridge group.
“Obviously our group and their group have different opinions. We have actually tried to engage with them a number of times to include them in the planning process,” he said. “They’ve said they don’t want to participate.”
Steingard said Broadview is revising its application and is working with the city to address the traffic concerns that were raised at an open house in June. He said the company is open to discussions with the group, but is doubtful they could reach any kind of compromise.
“I would love to sit down with this group and work with them on what we can change, but I am not confident we could find middle ground,” he said.
For more information on the Hidden Ridge petition, visit www.savelinleyshiddenridge.org.