Church project deserves investigation

Re: “Oak Bay mayoral candidates at odds on housing,” Oct. 9.

Once again, Richard Watts recites information from the Oak Bay United Church without fact-checking.

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Stated: The church wants to develop its 1.3-acre site.

Fact: The church can develop only part of its the site because the church building occupies some of it.

Stated: The proposal will include 96 units of affordable housing.

Fact: The proposal includes only 57 units of affordable housing. The rest will be fully priced to market.

Stated: The church has promised to preserve trees.

Fact: The landscape arborist’s report identifies a number of trees that will be removed, including both mature Garry oak and arbutus trees. Note: This report fails to estimate how many of the existing trees will perish during and after the extended period of drilling and blasting necessary to excavate the underground parking lot.

Stated: The project will preserve the heritage church building.

Fact: It cannot be predicted with certainty that the church building or the period homes around it will survive the blasting unscathed.

Would it be more informative if Watts were to approach this story with an investigative mindset, instead of simply copying and pasting whatever is in the church’s press releases?

Maybe he could answer the key question many having been asking for months: Who is behind this project? Who are the members of the development team? The secrecy attached to this project, by the church and by the Mayor Nils Jensen-led district employees, continues to be cause for concern.

M.E. Bolitho

Oak Bay

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