Protecting forests and farmland from urban sprawl

Enjoying a hike in the Sooke Hills. Protecting wilderness areas is a big benefit of urban containment.

Right now, the Capital Regional District (CRD) is consulting residents on the Regional Sustainability Strategy (RSS), to guide land use decisions from the Saanich Peninsula to Victoria to Port Renfrew on the west coast.

The RSS will either strengthen the policy of urban containment, mandating that new housing and development be concentrated in existing population centres, or it will provide a green light to urban sprawl, extending pavement and development into the wilderness areas and farmland of the capital region.

I strongly support a policy of urban containment.

Protecting forests and farmland from urban sprawl makes sense for a number of reasons. It conserves wilderness areas for the ecological value of maintaining plant and animal habitat, protecting water quality, sequestering carbon and providing opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Urban containment also conserves farmland for present and future generations, with the capital region having a finite supply of arable land (due to mountainous terrain, constraints of the coastline, and existing development patterns). Local food systems are essential in the context of increasing global transportation costs, a changing climate and instability in the global capitalist economy.

Compact land-use patterns are also important from the standpoint of transportation, with sprawling suburbs being heavily reliant on private motor vehicles, gridlocked highways and the consumption of fossil fuels, which impacts air quality and contributes to climate change. Infrastructure of sprawling suburbs is costly to maintain, with vast networks of roads, sewers and water lines. Suburbs are also often dominated by big box and corporate retail and (because of auto-dependency) have lower rates of community participation.

I hope you will take the opportunity to contact the CRD Board expressing your views on regional land use and urban containment, by emailing CRDBoard@crd.bc.ca or completing this survey before Feb. 15. Together, we can build a sustainable region that leaves no one behind and protects the natural environment. Doing so requires saying no to development in some areas and concentrating new housing within existing population centres.


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  • Anonymous
    commented 2015-02-03 15:37:35 -0800
    with higher population densities come higher housing costs. in one study by the world bank a thirty percent increase in density increased housing costs by the same thirty percent. when victoria cannot supply low cost housing at its existing density how will it with higher density with higher land values? i would be happy to hear an answer.

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=ukbdW6mH_0UC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • Anonymous
    commented 2015-02-03 09:46:16 -0800
    sustainable development is not he same as developing sustainability. sustainable development is not an oxymoron it is a lie. how sustainable can a cancer or any city be? no city creates more energy or food or air or water than it takes.
  • Anonymous
    commented 2015-02-03 09:23:51 -0800
    why is enough enough? HOW BIG IS TOO BIG? HOW HIGH IS TOO HIGH? URBAN CONTAINMAINT is another word for ECO DENSITY. i am all for protecting farms and forests but not at the cost of unfettered inner city growth.

    ECO DENSITY IS A LIE. and i can prove it. if you want more people, make the people you have sustainable first, not build MORE HOUSING then hope for sustainability. stop accepting or promoting unlimited growth, now.

    “The higher the income level and rate of urbanization, the greater the amount of solid waste produced. High-income countries produce the most waste per capita, while low income countries produce the least solid waste per capita.” http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTURBANDEVELOPMENT/Resources/336387-1334852610766/Chap3.pdf

    HIGH RISES ARE TOMORROWS SLUMS. “Overcrowding, elevator breakdowns, broken door locks, persistent pests, peeling paint and the ever-present worry about paying the rent.
    That is the growing reality for families with children living in Toronto’s aging highrise apartment towers that dominate the city’s low-income neighbourhoods, according to a University of Toronto study being released Wednesday. ”http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/03/12/highrise_hell_for_lowincome_families_in_toronto.html">http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/03/12/highrise_hell_for_lowincome_families_in_toronto.html

    “Poverty is becoming increasingly concentrated in Toronto’s aging highrises, says the United Way in a landmark report. “”http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2011/01/12/torontos_poor_concentrated_in_aging_highrises.html">http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2011/01/12/torontos_poor_concentrated_in_aging_highrises.html

    unfettered growth is not sustainable. obviously, we arent sustainable at current levels. cities are cancers on the earth. malignant or benign? that is the question. if you were the earth and you are, do you want growing or non growing cities? your health is connected with the health of the earth. know it or not. r.eady o.r n.ot l.ike i.t o.r n,ot R.O.N. L.I.O.N. aka ron lund