Neighbours vow to stop berm idea

Residents escalate their opposition to plans on Gardner’s Pond by Peninsula Streams Society

Residents of Mulberry Place in North Saanich want more information on plans for a berm on Gardner’s Pond.

Residents of Mulberry Place in North Saanich vow to attend as many council meetings as possible to stay abreast of plans for nearby Gardner’s Pond — and to eventually stop them.

Plans for a berm and boardwalk at the pond were revealed by the Peninsula Streams Society back in February at a North Saanich environmental advisory commission meeting. Ian Bruce, executive co-ordinator of the society told the News Review on June 12 that the plan is in the conceptual stage and they have not made an application to do any work.

That’s not good enough for Mulberry Place residents who filled the public gallery during Monday night’s regular council meeting. They are saying that what Peninsula Streams has done to date is not good enough. They are demanding to be kept informed and are hoping to have the pond’s health evaluated.

“The residents are here and will keep coming to ensure they are heard,” said Kirsteen Moore, who lives near the pond.

Moore said she has never received any plans from Peninsula Streams for a berm or boardwalk and claimed her backyard would be made unusable if a berm is built to raise the water level in the pond by one meter.

Bruce told the News Review the berm is being considered to raise the level of water in the pond.

That would take the pond to its winter carrying capacity and, Bruce explained, would help keep more water flowing in Chalet Creek in the summer to better protect fish.

The presence of fish in Gardiner’s Pond and the creek also has some residents concerned. They said that the noise level of frogs in the pond is way down — which leads some to believe that they are being preyed upon by the fish put there by Peninsula Streams.

One resident asked council how they might get a third party ecological study done on the pond to gauge its health. Another resident also said they wanted to put the brakes on any berm project “for good.”

North Saanich chief administrative officer Ron Buchan said there has been no application made to the district at this time. If one did come forward, he said it would go through a development permit process, which includes public consultation.

Mayor Alice Finall vowed to get more information on the matter and keep the residents informed. Councillor Ted Daly went further, calling the situation a “fiasco” and asking staff for a report later this  month.

Coun. Conny McBride said she attended that EAC meeting in February, noting that Peninsula Streams mentioned their plans in passing and that they were for some time “down the line.”

Bruce told the News Review that any plans for a berm would not come up before next year, or perhaps 2015.