North Saanich council won’t reconsider

Mayor’s gambit to have small lot residential development bylaws and OCP changes reconsidered, fails

Using her power under the Community Charter, North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall asked council at its June 24 special meeting to reconsider its assent of three bylaws that set the stage for small lot developments in the community.

Like the initial vote taken on the bylaws by council on June 10, however, the outcome was the same.

“I’m surprised that you’re bringing this back,” said Councillor Dunstan Browne, who with councillors Ted Daly, Craig Mearns and Connie McBride had voted in favour of the trio of bylaws earlier in the month.

“There’s no evidence of any councillor having a change of heart in the matter,” Browne continued.

He noted that councillors Celia Stock, Elsie McMurphy and Finall have opposed the changes at every turn.

The controversial bylaws that were approved on June 10, and again this week, define and allow small lot residential development that could increase housing density. One amends the official community plan to allow it. Another changes the district’s zoning bylaw for property at 9395 East Saanich Rd. — where developers have proposed 40 residential units on small lots. The third is an authorization of a phased development agreement between the district and Sanpen Properties Inc. In brief, the latter allows the developer to build on the property in stages.

These bylaw changes do not mean that the developer can build just yet. There are still both the development and building permits to obtain, requiring more public consultation and council approvals.

Finall said she brought the matter back to council due to what she called new information about the 9395 East Saanich Rd. proposal — a preferred purchase option being offered by the developer to a local employers group and North Saanich firefighters.

“This deal is an improvement to the project, “ Finall said, “but it raises new issues.”

Those, she said, include how the purchase option will work and how it might apply to future affordable or workforce housing policies in the district.

She added any discussion council might have on the matter won’t slow the project down.

Both McMurphy and Stock, who have long supported Finall in opposing the project and calling for a comprehensive local housing policy, agreed the purchase option was a good idea. Yet, since the project is a departure for the community, they want to get it right and take more time to look at it again.

Browne said none of this is a reason to renegotiate the plan and called for an immediate vote on re-ratifying the bylaws.

That sparked another debate, with Coun. Daly delivering the strongest words.

“It’s turned into an opportunity for another friggin’ delay,” he said.

Coun. McBride said she doesn’t see anything sinister about the plan for a preferred purchase option, adding council needs to move on.

Again, council voted 4-3 to reaffirm the bylaw changes.

Lunn has strong words for the mayor

Gary Lunn, a former MP, current owner of 9395 East Saanich Rd. and partner in Sanpen Properties Inc., says the mayor has to accept that she no longer holds a majority on North Saanich council and move on.

Lunn said the details of his small lot residential housing project have been a matter of public record for some time. He said they have spoken with council many times and have been clear in their intent to offer employees of the Sidney/North Saanich industrial area preference to purchase the homes.

“This is nothing new,” he said. “It has been one delay after another delay.”

Lunn said Mayor Alice Finall has shown a lack of respect “to the people of North Saanich” and has used up staff and council’s time in the process.

“You need to accept you didn’t win a majority of this council. You need to let it go.”




Just Posted

Food service workers at Victoria airport protest for second time in four months

Negotiations continue to drag on with employer Compass Group Canada, VAA refuses to engage

Firefighters rescue horse stuck in Saanich mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Esquimalt senior’s complex getting redeveloped

The Esquimalt Lions Lodge is one of the projects to receive funding for affordable housing

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Federal environment minister faces protesters in B.C.

Catherine McKenna defended her government’s environmental record during a funding announcement in Victoria

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Dog psychic can help Vancouver Islanders better connect with their pets

Michele Wonnacott hosts one-day seminar in Nanaimo on Saturday, Nov. 17

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Most Read