Most people walking up Fort Street would feel that at least while they are close to Douglas or Blanshard that they are in Downtown Victoria or perhaps Harris Green. The urban form is dense, with sidewalks right up to the front of the buildings and no side-yards between the buildings. The focus is commercial along the street, with multiple storeys of residential or office above. In opposition to this, when you think of the neighbourhood of Fairfield, you think of arts and crafts houses with well maintained gardens or maybe Cook Street Village, where a five storey building is the source of years of controversy.
So when the Salient Group brings forward a proposal for an 11 storey building for Fort Street it seems wrong that the community association charged with the initial review of the project is the Fairfield Community Association. No one living downtown or even outside of downtown would have a sense that Fairfield includes the south side of Fort Street starting at Blanshard and that is because they shouldn't .
I have said before that it is time for the city to review the neighbourhood borders with a view to ensuring that the borders follow the form and feel associated with a neighbourhood. That means that the borders will shift over time, but also allowing a reset could allow the city to create more stringent design guidelines in the neighbourhoods so that form will follow the status quo feel.
I created a map of the city here. This map moves the neighbourhood boundaries to so that they are more cohesive with regard to form. A focused move to do this over time will enhance neighbourhood character and make the vision we have a place in our mind more closely representative of what we would see when we are there.
What do you think? Should the south side of Fort Street be in Fairfield?