Sustainability needs to be top growth priority

Re: Major project eyed for Cedar, July 5.

To the Editor,

Re: Major project eyed for Cedar, July 5.

The Qualicum Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the principles and practices of sustainability, has followed with interest and dismay recent news stories involving the push to develop a major oceanfront resort community in the south Nanaimo/Cedar area.

The City of Nanaimo’s approval of the 170-hectare Oceanview Golf Resort and Spa development, with some 2,677 homes, hotel, spa, and golf course, is controversial enough. Now Island Timberlands wants to combine a 24-hectare property zoned Rural Agricultural with an adjacent 23-hectares it owns that lies within the Urban Containment Boundary to create a twinned waterfront resort community with another hotel, commercial space, marina, and 2,400 more housing units.

Regional District of Nanaimo chairman Joe Stanhope has rightly questioned the sustainability of such a huge resort development, which has the potential to add more than 9,000 new residents to the City of Nanaimo and the region.

The development will put further strain on the city’s water treatment and supply system and increase the loading on the Greater Nanaimo Wastewater Treatment Plant, which only provides a primary level of treatment.

Of course, the architect/engineering company pitching the resort/residential concept argues the development will “build a more sustainable community”, “protect sensitive ecosystems”, and “provide pedestrian access to the jewel of the lands (Cable Bay)”.

What we will end up with is a higher-class example of urban sprawl, inevitable deterioration of the natural systems that support us along with increased demand on infrastructure that existing taxpayers will subsidize.

Sustainability is ultimately about recognizing that there are limits to growth and having the will and foresight to live within those limits.

Let’s see if the RDN board is willing to prove the merits of its new regional growth strategy and sustainability principle No. 1, making decisions that have regard for local and global consequences.

Neil K. Dawe, president

The Qualicum Institute