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LETTER: Loss to development will be irreparable

My ancestors were Canada’s First People, they lost their land, their culture, their language, their children – leaving them in ruin.

Canada has a culture and that culture is changing to make room for newcomers. The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is calling on government to phase out R1 zoning on the Peninsula. The Chamber of Commerce is advocating for development on the Peninsula, but nowhere in the article is the Capital Regional District mentioned.

The CRD is the manager of our landfill; sewer treatment; and potable water. In recent months, the CRD reported, water, sewer and landfill must be sustainable when growth is being promoted. The Chamber of Commerce fails to address our shortage of doctors, nurses, educators in the “worker shortage” or how density will impact our schools, hospitals, and essential services.

North Saanich was one of the municipalities that pushed back on high density to save our agriculture and R1 zoning. When you build high density around agriculture – when will those residents complain about the odours from fertilizers, risks to them from spraying, and noise created by farm equipment in the early hours of operation. With higher density near and around farms, the majority will win the ears of policymakers, creating another assault on our ability to feed ourselves, relying on imported agriculture, leading to higher cost of living.

I see my ancestors’ history as a cautionary tale. Once you lose the land, lose your culture, your community, the impacts may be irreparable. Our people were promised a better life with the fur trade, resource trade, agriculture, and all Canadians see clearly what “commerce” did for our people.

Climate change is real and this comes directly from humans. Increasing density is adding to this problem, investment in climate change and essential services should lead the discussion not be the afterthought or promise.

Jo-Anne Berezanski, Elder

Lheidli T’enneh First Nation