Unknown Victoria

Victoria: The Unknown City is a guidebook to an eccentric town on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This is the author's blog. Look here for Victoria lore, updates and additions to the book, and hate mail.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Victoria vs. Langford: The Two Solitudes

For a graphic illustration of the radically different political cultures of urban and rural Greater Victoria, check out this video from Friday morning. In the left corner (with the video camera), a couple of female UVic-based activists protesting construction of a $32-million interchange that will service the Bear Mountain golf resort. In the right corner, about 100 Langford labourers ticked off about delays caused by the protests – and one foul-mouthed old man.

More raw video of the confrontation, taken by CHEK television, is here. (CHEK's edited and "packaged" version, for comparison, is here). On CFAX 1070 today Frank Stanford editorialized that the activists were out of line for calling the labourers “goons” in a press release. Watch the clips and judge for yourself.

The Bear Mountain controversy has been heating up. On Saturday came news that the developer is being sued for falsely promising, among other things, that the interchange would be finished by the end of 2008. Perhaps the parties are feeling pressured to get their stuff built and sold ASAP, before an American-induced recession kicks in. They should hope potential investors don’t read this article in the New York Times, noting there’s been “a vast overbuilding of golf courses” in the U.S. and that the number of players is steadily declining.

UPDATE (March 6, 2008): The intrigue grows. This week's Monday suggests that the developers encouraged the labourers to confront the protesters, and a letter says the construction (destruction?) company is run by the brother-in-law of Bear Mountain CEO Len Barrie. A new video catches Langford councillor Denise Blackwell giving protesters the finger, and local musician Aidan Knight has written a song about the conflict. The TC's Jack Knox has written a good summary of the issues. He's right: not everyone can find time to get to a council meeting or even watch the 6 o'clock news, and as a result this debate is increasingly being decided in the court of YouTube.


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