Victoria Hospice Society (VHS) announced it is withdrawing its proposal to buy a 1.3 acre parcel of land from the Greater Victoria School District (SD 61) adjacent to Bowker Creek. The Friends of Bowker Creek Society (FOBCS) sincerely appreciates VHS’ decision and acknowledges that VHS invested significant time and resources exploring the suitability of the property. FOBCS wishes VHS and its Board every success in finding a new location for the vital services they provide to the community.
The FOBCS’ opposition was never about Hospice. We have always maintained that building on the property is not compatible with the vision of the 2010 Bowker Creek Blueprint or the recommendations of the 2021 Daylighting Feasibility Study. It is a vision that has been developed collaboratively over 15-20 years through the Bowker Creek Initiative (BCI), a partnership with Saanich, Oak Bay, Victoria, CRD, FOBCS, other community groups and the School District itself.
The vision includes restoring Bowker Creek and using the property to meander and widen the creek channel, slow down and detain rainwater, and help mitigate flooding downstream. The creek is the backbone of our urban storm-drain system; climate change is bringing more intense rainfall and the property is essential to reducing flood risk.
In addition, maintaining greenspace for educational purposes and community access will become even more critical in the future to accommodate population growth and increasing densification.
The FOBC is very encouraged by SD61’s statement on the sale which includes a commitment to explore opportunities with Rights-holders, the school community and other partners including the FOBC, BCI, CCA and municipalities. We look forward to these discussions. Stay tuned for further updates!