Increasing The Density Of Oceanfront Development

<p>This column from the <em>Globe &amp; Mail</em> looks at the scourge of oceanside development in British Columbia and cites a successful example of high-density waterfront development as a model for future growth along the sea.</p>
September 3, 2007, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Coastal roads in southwestern British Columbia are now almost completely lined with houses. You know the pattern: one house on the water, the other across the road, one after the other about 30 metres apart, little tufts of trees in the gaps. These linear beads of recreation and retirement residences, if they could be strung into something resembling a town, would qualify as B.C.'s most rapidly expanding urban area."

"Unfortunately, this form of housing development is also extraordinarily wasteful of precious seafront land. It also makes public access to tidal flats difficult or impossible, and it is expensive to provide with sewer, garbage and other services. These house-lined rural roads can also be, frankly, boring eyesores."

"Stringing houses all along our ocean-fronting roads is a losing proposition, any way you cut it."

"Increasing housing densities by almost four times is a hard-to-achieve goal, and at sister sites outside Sechelt under development one sees the continuing disfigurement of ocean-edge splendour with 1970s driveway-and-bungalow conventionality. At Wakefield Beach, everyone gets a view of the waves, everyone gets a yard or a grassy green roof and deck, and everyone gets something missing in our linear coastal non-towns: a sense of community."

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Published on Friday, August 31, 2007 in The Globe & Mail
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