The four North Saanich councillors who have now set our community down a path of urbanization claim they represent the majority of residents. They apparently arrived at that conclusion based on the number of people who spoke at the public hearing on July 14.
Consideration of all the public input leads me to an entirely different conclusion.
While it is true there were slightly more people speaking in favour of the OCP amendment, it is also true that by a show of hands, a large majority supported an OCP review.
I took careful notes, and according to my records, there were 80 speakers: 34 against, 41 in favour and five who were difficult to categorize. It is apparently these numbers on which council based their decision to move forward with urbanization.
All other feedback seems to have been ignored. For the record, 270 people sent correspondence to the CRD regarding this amendment: 263 opposed and seven in support. (Our CRD board representative, Councillor Daly, admitted he hadn’t read them.) Eighty residents wrote letters to council: 75 opposed, five in support. Forty-one presentations were made to the CRD Board: 32 opposed and nine in support.
Some residents made submissions at more than one venue, but that is true for supporters on both sides.
When all feedback is considered, a completely different picture emerges than that painted by the council majority. There were 404 submissions opposed to the OCP changes and 63 in support. Therefore, 87 per cent of residents who provided feedback are opposed to these changes.
Could the result of the July 14 public hearing be considered true democracy? Hardly — but it has been clear for a while now that this process was not about genuinely wanting to hear from the citizens.