Any perceived attempt to change the rural way of life in Area D becomes a rallying cry for residents of the region south of the City of Campbell River in the Strathcona Regional District.
The residents fiercely defend the rural way of life they love and bless them for that. They have certainly made it clear that they want no part of urban encroachment. They certainly don’t want to be part of the City of Campbell River. Saturday’s referendum on extending sewer service to the northern part of Area D reiterated that strongly with an 84.3 per cent No vote.
The residents’ belief and willingness to stand up for their beliefs is admirable. Unfortunately, they are probably going to called upon time and again to defend that way of life. Not from the city, the referendum has probably quashed any desire by Campbell River officials to take on urban expansion in a formal sense in the near future. But how long are Area D residents going to be able to hold back the market forces of urbanization? The area that was the subject of the referendum is already under the developers’ eyes. Increasing density on the edges of the city is a force that may be unstoppable.
Cheaper land and lots of it will continue to attract housing development, especially considering the declining amount of land available for development within city limits. And although the threat posed by supposedly failing septic systems was perhaps overstated, providing services to this increased densification will continue to be pursued. At this stage it looks like the Strathcona Regional District will be the body to address that pressure.
So, for now, Area D continues to have the best of both worlds: independent, low-tax rural living right next door to the full services of an urban centre.