Created on Thursday, 08 May 2008 19:45
The Road that No-One Wanted; The Road that Never Should Have Been
by 'T Soeur
write this as the grand arbutus forests are crashing down the steep slopes all around us. It is Langford. In the midst of self-proclaiming "Mass Wasting" (just a development strategy - a style) one lost ravine, almost a canyon, deserves mention.
"The Powers that Be" once again acted in defiance of the wishes of long-standing residents along this "so-called" roadway just off Florence Lake Road. Many have lived there for decades on the shores of Florence Lake. And, they clearly expressed their opposition to development; to roads and driveways, and to wide paved cement "trails" in the ravine just behind them and immediately adjacent to their properties.
The people there would NOT have
objected to a narrow footpath through the ravine as a nature trail.
They expressed and documented their concerns over a period of several
months - repeatedly and properly - with all due respect for city
officials and "process." They are very knowledgeable about the land
they have all known and loved so well for so many years. This was
So, typically, yet another mass development scheme was rammed through in Langford. 5 houses? 17 houses? or more?
was a plan designed to benefit only the developer, (or developers) at
the expense of the long established residents and their investments of
time and improvements to their properties over the years - again
destroying the peace and security of citizens who originally came to
Langford because of the beauty and tranquility of the natural landscape
that surrounded them.
The road was cut halfway through without
even the most basic environmental, archeological, hydrological, Karst
and geological, geo-technical studies which should have been mandatory
and extensively carried out before even considering development of any
kind in this type of sensitive and irreplaceable ecological zone.
Too expensive? Then just do the right and sensible thing: Just leave it alone.
Road" used to be a narrow wooded ravine running alongside a steep
natural bluff. It was one of the last remaining natural and healthy
waterways, feeding directly into Florence Lake. Otters lived there.
There were grand arbutus trees and fir trees and Garry
Oak meadows, with a magnificent understory of native plants and
wildflowers. It was habitat for bats, and many varieties of birds. The
waterway extended from the cat-tail pond, which was the home of the
vocal little tree frogs, (at the corner of Setchfield Road and
Fleetwood Court) winding all the way down to the lake.
Elegant Little Salamander Cave, named for one of its inhabitants, was in the centre of it all.
the lake stood a majestic, old arbutus tree - an ancient landmark of
infinite cultural significance. It was one of those unforgettable, and
one of the most exquisite arbutus trees you would see in the Greater
Victoria area. The kind of tree you would see in a Nature calendar.
Repeatedly, even during the aggressive clear-cutting and rock smashing
for the road, residents were assured that tree would be saved.
It was said there was an ancient Cairn nearby. Many knew of
it. But it no longer exists. It was smashed; pulverized and destroyed
on the first day of clear-cutting.
The natural waterway from the
pond to the lake is blocked by the massive rock-rubble road
construction. The pond is completely cut off now: Landlocked.
moss covered bluff, and naturally sculpted rock formations, are smashed
and cut and gone. It is now a monstrous, gaping eye-sore, visible from
the road. It is only so much worse for those who live there and
remember how beautiful it once was. They have to look out their windows
at the scars every day, and live with the memories of "Paradise Lost"
on their doorstep.
Langford's "smash and burn" mentality leaves
demoralized and exhausted citizens with a ruined landscape and a
permanent legacy of massive heaps of broken and blasted rock - "trails"
along featureless drainage ditches, and everywhere more and more naked
cement and vast, crude, man-made flatlands.
The songs of Life
were once heard everywhere in the little ravine they now call Martin
Road: the chorus of tree frogs; the songs of birds, from raven, to
robin, to wren; the buzz of hummingbirds; the whisper of the wind in
the tall trees.
The songs of Life can no longer be heard there.
truth, there are those who hear the echoes of the screeches of the pain
and grief from the living and the dead there, in the now barren, lost