Island View Park rezoning a wildcard

On top of park plan controversy, commercial plan an issue

By Tim Collins/Contributor

As if the issues surrounding the future of Island View Beach were not convoluted enough, a new component has been added to the mix.

A zoning application was submitted to Central Saanich council in July of 2013 which, if approved, has the potential to fundamentally change the character of at least a part of the park.

The application is for a piece of derelict property located at 3215 Island View Road; property that borders Island View Park at its southern most boundary.

If granted, the land would move from its current agricultural designation to a residential and C3 (commercial).

“There is a large public demand for a tourist commercial type business near the park” says the application’s supporting documents.

The proposal goes on to describe a potential coffee shop, and “water/beach related business” such as kayak and paddleboard rentals. There is also provision for seven housing units to be located on the property.

According to the application, the plan would be to raise the level of the land on the property, thereby helping to reduce mosquito populations. It also stipulates that buildings on the site would be built on piles.

Not surprisingly, the proposed plan has already raised the hackles of some park users.

“I don’t think we need a commercial development on one of the last pristine beaches on the Peninsula,” said Bill Kennedy, one of the area’s opponents to the plan. “That designation would be permanent and it would fundamentally change what we have now.”

Proponents of the plan were unavailable for comment.

The application is currently under review by staff in Central Saanich.