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LETTER: Condo development a poor fit for heritage neighbourhood

The Esquimalt and Vic West communities have been defeated by the split vote passed by half the municipal council to allow a five-storey condo with 40+ units to be built in the middle of established family homes whose residents expected to stay and raise their families.

The neighbourhood is full of families going to local schools. Most of these families spoke against this overwhelming building which will tower above many backyards blocking the sun early and sunsets for east neighbours with their heritage homes. These homes have been lovingly restored and match the era. Indeed, townhouses on Arm Street were built to match the Banfield estate houses.

This neighbourhood is the historical record of the early days of mansions and their grounds served by the Gorge Waterway and very early roads.

The mayor appears to be so proud of the historical Japanese Gardens in Gorge Park yet was the defining vote to push through this condo even though there are no nearby amenities. Bus routes and shopping are blocks away. There is very little parking available on Selkirk which is currently a safe and much-used bike path.

The digging required for two levels of underground parking will butt against property lines of 100-plus-year-old homes.

What is needed in place of this modern-designed condo is a seniors home where locals can retire in their same neighbourhood. A seniors home designed to match the historical neighbourhood would not need nearly as much parking. It would allow seniors to stay where they love and know friends, thus freeing up family homes.

The entrance to Esquimalt Road past Devonshire is in dire need of an upgrade and a new condo is already helping that area to modernize. This location offers bus routes outside the door, a shopping mall within sight, and walking distance to town along the harbour starts a block away. This location makes a car-free life an option.

Why is a historical family neighbourhood being totally disrupted and dispirited by a modern condo that could be built in a much more logical, convenient location in need of update and modernization?

So while the entrance to Esquimalt languishes in a state of disrepair, an established truly family-oriented and historical neighbourhood is totally affected by a looming behemoth.

Irene Brett