North Saanich sets strategy for two years

North Saanich district council approved its amended 2013-2015 Strategic Plan

North Saanich district council approved its amended 2013-2015 Strategic Plan — but not without extensive debate over a small portion of the document.

The only dissenting vote on council was Mayor Alice Finall. She said she could not support the document based on one point — the changing of plans to create an affordable and workforce housing policy from an urgent goal a long-term one.

“In recent development applications,” she said, “there has been no capacity to supply affordable housing at all. And the District has no policy in place that might force the issue with developers.”

Finall has debated councillors for North Saanich to develop such a policy sooner, rather than later, considering all of council’s desire for more affordable housing for people in the local workforce. Where Finall’s opinion differs with that of the majority of council is over the definition of affordable housing.

To her, it’s about what people of modest income can afford. To the majority of council, it’s market housing.

Coun. Craig Mearns said he didn’t see the need for such a policy, stating the market will decide what’s affordable.

While debate on this issue came down to a 4-3 vote, the Strategic Plan itself passed, 6-1.