OUR VIEW: From horses to honeydew

North Saanich’s priority here is on food production. Within that umbrella, residents will have to decide what’s best.

A large chunk of the former Sandown horse racing track  — that will become the property of the District of North Saanich — is in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

So, there will be no homes built on it.

Now, with that out of the way, we can get on to discussing what are the favoured options for this land.

Any of the options, it has to be pointed out, must fit within the acceptable uses of the ALR.

Above that, there’s a clear indication both from the municipality and the organization running public consultation on the site this year, that there will be food production of some kind on this land.

With that in mind, the public will be asked to give their opinions on what will be the best use of the land — again, realizing that condos, single family homes or affordable housing units are not on.

The answer would seem to limited to, “well, just farm it.” In a manner of speaking, that’s just what the District appears to want to see there. They did, after all, hire CRFAIR to run their public consultation process. CRFAIR is a non-profit group that “brings together food, farm, and health organizations to have impact on developing a more sustainable, and vibrant regional food system.”

So, other than considering some recreational trails and green space, expect there to be a heavy emphasis on food production at Sandown.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Food security on the Island is an important issue and it’s rare to see ALR land returned to a productive state after it has been, say, a horse racing track.

North Saanich’s priority here is on food production. Within that umbrella, residents will have to decide what’s best.

— Peninsula News Review