LETTER: Apartment building proposed for ‘ridiculously’ narrow plot of land in Chilliwack

City should buy land and turn it into a park, suggests letter writer

Until recently, there has never been any thought of the extremely small lot at 9194 Edward St. (between Rosewood Gardens and Birchwood Retirement Manor) being used for anything other than a small single-family dwelling. Presently, a stone heritage house has been on the lot for many years, presumably omitted inadvertently from inclusion with the remainder of heritage sites in the City of Chilliwack.

Karvin Developments is now proposing the construction of a residential complex on this narrow strip of land.

To place a large oversized apartment complex on this lot would not only require the destruction of the heritage house, but would also require the destruction of all exotic trees and shrubbery on the lot. This is a miniature green belt which refreshes air quality and helps moderate summer temperatures in the area.

The crass removal of trees in urban areas creates a lack of biodiversity and is diametrically opposed to the city’s present policy of planting more trees in urban areas. This project would actually cross the line of legality by erecting a giant, unwieldy structure on a ridiculously-narrow strip of land, thereby reducing the quality of life for residents of both Rosewood Gardens and Birchwood Manor.

A recent scientific study conducted in the United Kingdom revealed that cancer rates increase with urban clutter and the replacement of trees by additional buildings , all of which led to declining air quality and increased cancer rates. This all goes to prove once again that trees are the lungs of the earth, as they promote healthy human well-being.

To construct a four- to five-storey apartment block on a narrow lot would also eclipse all sunlight from the apartments at Rosewood Gardens and Birchwood Manor. Residents at both buildings are deeply concerned that their quality of life will be greatly diminished with the prospect of far less sunlight, less air flow and diminished property values.

At a time when our society is finally becoming aware of the benefits of planting rather than destroying trees, it would be wise for the City of Chilliwack to purchase this narrow corridor of land and use it as a small public park to be enjoyed by all of Chilliwack’s residents. The historical heritage home could also be preserved at the same time and possibly turned into a museum of sorts.

Interestingly enough, this small parcel of land, including the heritage home, was once owned by Dr. Norman Todd, a local physician and naturalist who travelled the world over collecting exotic plants and shrubs, thereby enriching the biodiversity of our city. In what better way could we honour the memory of Dr. Todd than by dedicating this small parcel of land to such a worthy project ? It would also serve as a means of engaging our city in projects stressing biodiversity and, more specifically, the planting of trees.

We at Rosewood Gardens are trusting that our local city council will seriously consider halting further large-scale construction attempts on this ridiculously narrow strip of land. In our small way, we, as Chilliwack residents, shall have done our due diligence in fighting climate change and promoting biodiversity. It is for this reason that we at Rosewood Gardens solidly oppose the approval of variance permit DVP01095. We look forward to hearing the decision of the council regarding this very important matter.

Raymond Fulford, on behalf of residents of Rosewood Gardens

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