In the period
1990 - 1994, plans were laid for a new town on the site of the
old cement works at Bamberton, on the Saanich Inlet, 32km north-west
were to build a town for 12,000 people over 20 years, as a model
of new urban design and ecological sustainability, with a relatively
self-contained local economy.
plans generated considerable excitement, and an equal amount of
opposition. In 1997, the project was cancelled due to a mixture
One day, the
full story of Bamberton may be told. In the meantime, there is
no single, concise record of the huge amount of planning and community
dialogue that took place.
I was intimately
involved over these years, as one of the project's two environmental
consultants (with Randy Hooper), and as co-founder of the Bamberton
Business Network and the Bamberton Community Alliance. The initiator,
developer and visionary behind the project was David Butterfield,
President of South Island Development Corporation.
1999, I receive frequent requests for information from people
who want to know about Bamberton. For your benefit, I have dug
into my personal files, and put the following papers on the Internet.
AWARE, however, that I was only one player in a large team of
people, and that these papers reflect a mix between my professional
input and my personal input. They should not be read as a comprehensive
record of the Bamberton project. I have also dug up some websites
(see below) which you may find helpful.
Why did Bamberton
fail? In any conflict, you will get different answers. My answer
is that it failed for a number of reasons :
from many (but not all) local people living in the Mill Bay area.
Some opposed it because they didn't want anyone else living up
there. Some simply did not trust the developer, in spite of (or
because of) the social and environmental goals.
- An inability
to put the plans into a regional context, through the lack of
an existing regional planning process.
- A lack of
scientific clarity as to the impacts of the proposed tertiary
treated sewage outfall on the Saanich Inlet.
media coverage - the Times Colonist preferred to play on the "conflict"
angle, rather than research the facts.
- A failure
of courage by the NDP provincial government, who chose to order
more studies when they could have said "Go ahead".
- If we had
started with a project just 1/4 the size and shown that our ideas
could work on a small scale, there would probably be people living
in Bamberton today.
by the investors that the project might never get approved, even
after the Environmental Impact Assessment. In the end, it was
the investors who chose to cancel it.
I hope you
find these notes useful.
Design - the Canadian town of Bamberton Puts all the Pieces Together,
by Guy Dauncey
about Bamberton, from Guy Dauncey's files :
a Living Community
Bamberton Business Code