In this edition of Save Linley's Hidden Ridge Campaign News:
- Petition Update - 2,000+ People Say NO to Proposed Development
- Nanaimo's CPD Committee Recommends Rejection of the OCP Amendment Application
- City Council to Decide on December 18th Whether OCP Amendment Proceeds
- Your Voice Matters - Details on Contacting Council and Attending the Council Meeting
2,000 SIGNATURES and growing
Thanks to everyone who has signed the petition already, and to our very committed SLHR volunteer canvassers, we now have over 2,000 petition signatures. A canvassing blitz is planned for this weekend (December 9 & 10) in the Stephenson Point/Hammond Bay neighbourhood.
We have also had a huge burst of online petition signatures with the launch of volunteer Myriam Verzat's Meme campaign on FaceBook.
With everyone's help to share this News Blog and our Facebook Petition post, we have a good chance of reaching our goal of 3,000 petition signatures by the December 18th City Council meeting.
A big win for SLHR Campaign
CPDC Recommends Rejection of OCP Amendment
On November 29th, Nanaimo's Community Planning and Development Committee (CPDC) voted unanimously to recommend that Nanaimo City Council not approve the Developer's application to amend the Official Community Plan (OCP), which would pave the way for the development of Linley's Hidden Ridge, 72 acres in all.
The Lost Lake Neighbourhood Association (LLNA) was permitted to participate in the discussions at this CPDC meeting, and also provided a brief presentation and extensive written report prepared by the Save Linley's Hidden Ridge (SLHR) campaign. Representatives of the LLNA and SLHR together presented a strong case as to why this OCP Amendment Application does not comply with the OCP amendment process and objectives, and has the potential to negatively impact the existing ecology and wilderness of Linley Valley Cottle Lake Park.
We were also able to share with the CPDC the results of our recent door-to-door petition canvassing blitz in the Lost Lake Neighbourhood area. Over 80% of the residents contacted, immediately agreed to sign the petition.
Nanaimo residents, from north to south, as well as Vancouver Island residents in communities from Victoria, to Port Alberni and Comox have spoken loud and clear with over 2,000 signatures on the petition. Oh, and a few visitors from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and PEI we have met on the trails in Linley Valley have signed too!
City Council to Decide on December 18th
Can you come out in support?
We are now at a critical point in the Campaign to Save Linley's Hidden Ridge. We have been told that at the Nanaimo Council meeting on Monday, December 18th, our City Councillors and Mayor will decide either to reject or approve the OCP Amendment Application during the 1st and 2nd Readings followed by a vote. If they reject it at this Council meeting, the application dies. This is the outcome we want!
If City Council votes to approve it on December 18th, then the proposed OCP amendment would go to a "Public Hearing". After the Hearing, it would go back to City Council for the final 3rd and 4th Readings and votes. If approved at the 4th reading, the Bylaw change would be adopted and 72 acres of Linley Valley would be deforested and developed.
We are hoping that we can count on you, our Save Linley's Hidden Ridge supporters, to attend the Council meeting on 18th December to show City Council that Nanaimo citizens care about protecting what land remains in this urban wilderness. See below for details and how to register to speak.
In addition to the destruction of 72 acres of beautiful forest, wetlands and ridges, and the negative impacts on the local neighborhood, approval of this application would be in contravention of key goals and policies in the City's OCP. This would also set a dangerous precedent for future development that disregards the commitments made to Nanaimo citizens in the OCP.
One of the requirements to remove land from the Urban Reserve designation, is that an Area Plan be developed first. There is no Area Plan for this part of Nanaimo. Another requirement is that there be a need for more land for new housing. Both north and south Nanaimo have many acres of vacant land that is already zoned for residential without taking land from the Urban Reserve. City staff have also confirmed that Nanaimo's population is currently below the forecasts used to develop the OCP.
The Advisors that sit on the CPDC rightly pointed out that developing these 72 acres will not address two other key issues for Nanaimo - housing affordability and accessibility. Advisors emphasized the importance of creating affordable housing (both rental and to buy) that is accessible to community services and amenities without the need to always use a car. The concern about the long term cost to all Nanaimo citizens to maintain the additional infrastructure to supply City services was also raised at the meeting.
Save Linley's Hidden Ridge campaign believes that protecting the integrity of Linley Valley and its parks is of the utmost urgency because the Valley contains rare ecosystems and species at-risk, and because it provides our City with irreplaceable ecological services and recreational values. We agree that removing these lands from the Urban Reserve goes against OCP policy and does not address Nanaimo's real housing needs.
How YOU CAN support SLHR at council on Monday, December 18
- Come to the Council Meeting - let's fill the auditorium (agenda confirmed and posted Dec 11th)
- Have your voice heard - apply to appear as a delegation or have your questions answered (click here for details)
- Write, Email and phone the Councillors and Mayor at Mayor&Council@Nanaimo.ca (see City contact page)
- Sign the Petition if you haven't already done so, and encourage your friends and neighbours to do the same.
To learn more about the proposed development visit the Save Linley's Hidden Ridge website visit www.savelinleyshiddenridge.org
MEME's - Thanks to Myriam Verzat
Many thanks to Myriam and her team for bringing such enthusiasm and talent to the Save Linley's Hidden Ridge campaign.
Design by Myriam Verzat, Environmental Educator, Artist and Facilitator (www.myriamverzat.com);
Photos by Ron Clark, Sylvie Côté and Myriam Verzat;
Dancers: Giselle Audirac, Valentina Cardinalli, Samantha Letourneau, Amie Alexis and Myriam Verzat