LETTERS: Keep Sandown green

Why oh why Niccolo Machiavelli were you born 547 years too early?

Re: Sandown alternative — Hortus botanicus.

Hildegard Horie (PNR, July 27) laments that everything went wrong since 2011 when 83 of 95 acres of land would be donated to North Saanich if Sandown’s race track owner would be allowed to develop the other 12 acres commercially.

Why oh why Niccolo Machiavelli were you born 547 years too early? You could have explained that the end justifies the means and that there is a price to pay for everything.

In May last year, I visited the Hortus  botanicus in Leiden in the Netherlands.  The Hortus in Leiden was founded in 1590 and is the oldest botanical garden in Western Europe. The Hortus is like a green oasis surrounded by Leiden University and other buildings in the city.

If it had been farmland instead of a Hortus, the land would have been developed many years ago. Similarly for North Saanich, farmland will likely not stand up to development pressures in the long term. Several Dutch cities possess a Hortus botanicus which have withstood the ages.

A Hortus botanicus will not duplicate but rather complement Butchart Gardens, as the main objective of the former is educational rather than recreational. A Hortus houses wild species of plants and trees from all over the world.  Many tropical plants are housed in glass covered buildings.

A  Hortus botanicus, closely affiliated with the University of Victoria and other colleges, and surrounded by a forested buffer zone could be the answer to North Saanich’s  efforts to keep Sandown green.

Kees Vermeer, North Saanich

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