Fernwood NRG has had held two ­community meetings so far to ­discuss ­developing the properties we have acquired in the heart of Fernwood ­Village (see “More housing for Fernwood,” in the October 2013 Village Vibe). At both ­meetings there was an overwhelming amount of support for the project and we are grateful to all those who have expressed kind thoughts and wishes for this project. However, there was an ­interesting ­difference between the two meetings in terms of the priorities for the space between the buildings…

The future ain’t what it used to be. —Yogi Berra

At the first meeting, when we ­presented a very high level overview of the new ­building footprints and the space allocated for parking, some asked: “Where is the green space? Why is so much of the site dedicated to parking? Don’t you know people aren’t going to be using cars in the future?”

At the second meeting, when we ­presented the same information, some asked: “Why haven’t you provided more space for parking? Don’t you know there isn’t enough parking in Fernwood? Why are you building in Fernwood Village? It’s congested enough already.”

The City of Victoria’s Official ­Community Plan seeks “to manage ­transportation ­infrastructure and services to give priority to the pedestrian, cycling and transit modes and link [­neighbourhoods] with high ­capacity and frequent public transit service.” The City’s goal is that “a minimum of 60% of all trips by Victoria residents take place by walking, cycling and public transit by 2041.” The measurement in the 2006 ­Census was 46%, which was tied with Montreal for tops in Canada, so setting a target of 60% is ambitious, but achievable.

We share the City’s goal of ­encouraging walking, biking and transit. Our aim is to enhance Fernwood Village by ­adding ­neighbourhood services that most people will walk or bike to, and to add more ­housing in the village core where there is already both services and transit. We believe our goal aligns with the City’s objectives to provide affordable housing, to add density in existing villages, and to create a walkable and livable city.

We know our modest development won’t solve all the problems of the world, and we are grateful for the support we have already received from the neighbourhood. Let us know what you think at ­fernwoodfuture@­fernwoodnrg.ca.

Lee Herrin
December 2013
Village Vibe