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Failed Victoria mayoral candidate rethinks zoning

Former Victoria mayoral candidate Rob Reid said on the local CBC morning radio show this morning the city didn't do enough “due diligence” on the zoning that allows a bottle depot to operate across the street from one of his running shoe stores.

Oddly enough, way back in October when he was campaigning during his failed bid to be mayor, Reid said the city spends way too much time on zoning.

“Life's too short, so I get a little concerned, and that's why some of us are running, we get concerned with 60 percent of council time being spent on re-zoning, and that's an issue,” he said in an interview. “I'm not going to sit in that council chambers and spend 60 percent of my time talking about zonings, so something's going to have to change.”

But isn't that what city councils do? “I think we need to discuss variances, but we can't be spending 60 percent of our time on zoning. If we ask the typical citizen what their priorities are living in Victoria, I don't think zoning is going to be in the top three.”

The bottle depot has been at the corner of Vancouver and View Streets for many years, though staff could not say when it opened. It is in an area with some of Victoria's lowest rents, though in recent years higher priced developments have been built.

The depot is heavily used by people scrounging a living by returning containers for a deposit. Reid said on the radio he believes it should be somewhere else.

As it happens, the city sent the depot a letter last week saying it is in contravention of the existing zoning rules. The area is mixed use residential and retail, a city official said, and bottle depots are considered an industrial use. The depot is yet to respond, the official said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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