LETTERS: Sea level planning is about land confiscation

North Saanich staff and council are far beyond starting the discussion on the impact of climate on its coastline.

North Saanich staff and council are far beyond starting the discussion on the impact of climate on its coastline. (Re: District braces for higher tides, PNR Nov. 23).

They have already begun the process of drafting new bylaws, as set out in a report to council on Oct. 28 and  posted on the District’s webpage. It  clearly  indicates staff’s desire to implement OCP and zoning bylaw amendments to deal with sea level rise by the fall of 2017.

Stealth confiscation is once again underway in North Saanich and owners of waterfront property, businesses (such as marinas and restaurants), realtors and those who simply enjoy walking the shoreline should watch this process carefully. Even though the SNC-Lavalin Inc. Flood Construction Level Report, still in draft form, indicates that over 81 per cent of North Saanich will not be materially affected by a one meter rise in sea level, the District is still spending tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of staff and council time to pursue sea level rise zoning changes. The District appears to be relying heavily on a UBC student who, using North Saanich as her guinea pig, is undertaking a case study to develop community-specific green infrastructure adaptive scenarios for coastal flooding. Perhaps with billions of dollars of real-estate and public infrastructure at risk, the District might want to rely on more than a draft report and a student’s project.

The Oct. 28 report states: “There is no requirement for consultation to occur as soon as possible,” yet all one has to do is look to the Saanich EDPA mess to see what happens when bylaws are rushed through without real stakeholder participation.

With provincial guidelines still in draft form, local Native lands, the Town of Sidney and the Airport Authority outside the scope of the SNC Lavalin report, and no input from the CRD, one has to wonder how effective sea level rise bylaws can be introduced.

David Tonken, North Saanich