• North Saanich will give out $33,900 in grants-in-aid this year. Council invited applicants to its recent budget committee meeting, hearing them case-by-case. Organizations that will reeve a least some of the money include the Sidney Museum and Archives Society, Peninsula Streams, Saanich Inlet Lifeboat Society and the Parkland Secondary School Dry Grad committee.
• Rebecca Vermeer, president of the Saanich Peninsula Housing and Senior Care Society has asked council to consider a proposal for a campus of care, seniors housing and special needs housing on land at the Sandown Racetrack.
• Councillor Dunstan Browne renewed his call for a staff report to define the rules of conduct during the council’s public participation period. Browne said he has felt personally attacked by some speakers and has no way to respond to that criticism.
• There will be a final open house on Wednesday, March 27 for the housing strategy public consultation in North Saanich. The sessions starts at 7 p.m. and runs to 9 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church at 9296 East Saanich Rd. A survey on housing in North Saanich is sure to be a topic of discussion. Conducted by consulting firm CTQ , the survey indicates 74 per cent of respondents (196 surveys) support higher density and 75 per cent support smaller lots. Fifty-one per cent support more affordable or attainable housing and 44 per cent want no consideration of ALR lands for housing.
The North Saanich Residents Association held a survey of their own and will present the results at the March 25 council meeting.
• With councillor Craig Mearns not at the March 18 meeting, Councillor Ted Daly suggested putting off on ratifying the budget committee recommendations until all of council was present. Councillors Elsie McMurphy and Celia Stock questioned whether they would get the same consideration if they weren’t able to be at a meeting where an important vote were to take place. McMurphy stated council needs to be able to do its job and conduct business, even if a councillor cannot be at the table. Despite the debate, no motion was raised to approve the evening’s budget committee work, which would see the tax rate set for 2013.