100 boo, hiss as split council stalls on Sandown proposal

North Saanich council divided – four vote against moving ahead on Sandown development

Nearly a hundred people hissed and booed four members of North Saanich council, before walking out of a meeting en masse in disappointment.

Councillors Dunstan Browne, Ted Daly, Craig Mearns and Conny McBride voted against a two-part recommendation Monday night. Had the vote passed, it would have had the municipality sign a memorandum of understanding with the Agricultural Land Commission on the use of 83 acres of land at Sandown Race Track, plus released $9,000 for an environmental study of the land.

Councillors Elsie McMurphy and Celia Stock, and Mayor Alice Finall voted in favour of the recommendation.

“Stupid, ignorant people,” a man said loudly from the standing room only audience in council chambers, before leaving.

The voting lines on council mirror the results from the Dec. 5 meeting, that helped bring Daly to the seat of Capital Regional District board director, ousting Mayor Alice Finall from the position.

Browne, McBride, Mearns and Daly all told the applicant, Bill Randall of Sandown, they needed more information on the costs associated with holding the land in the Agricultural Land Reserve for perpetuity. Browne said he was concerned the project could cost the municipality millions in drainage, environmental repair and demolition of existing buildings.

“I think we’ve got to do a lot more investigation,” Browne said partway through the 1.5-hour discussion. “If this is going to be a huge financial problem for the district, I’d be abdicating my duties to say yes to it.”

Echoed Daly: “In principle I agree with it. What I would like to see is that if this is the extent of the business case … I’ve got a lot of concerns about that because it’s a two page report.”

Randall proposes to take 12 acres of land near McDonald Park Road out of the ALR, to develop into commercial property. In return, he will donate the rest of the 83-acre parcel to the municipality for agricultural use. The district would also put 12 acres of its own land back into the ALR.

“Maybe we shouldn’t put (83) acres of land in the ALR for perpetuity,” Daly said, garnering loud groans from the people in attendance.

Finall said that by approving the night’s two-part recommendation, council would have received the information that was missing.

“These two steps, I think, are a sensible move toward making a final decision.”

Referring to Randall’s address to council earlier, where he indicated he’d wait a while, but not much more than six months for approval before selling the land to multiple developers, McMurphy said, “In fact, we have the potential for losing that whole thing. There’s no point having the discussion if we don’t have the land to talk about. Let’s get this prize in our pocket, then decide what we want to do with it.”

She was answered by long applause from a most people in the chambers.

Chief administrative officer Rob Buchan said that once the MOU with the commission is signed, minor changes could still be made, such as allowing trails through the wooded area for public use.

Before the final vote, Browne proposed that council table the project until council’s meeting on Jan. 16. He, McBride and Mearns voted for the tabling. Finall, Stock, McMurphy and Daly voted against it, with Daly commenting that tabling, for the sake of tabling, didn’t get council the information it sought either.

Buchan said staff will now wait for a decision from council on where to go next with the proposal.


Just Posted

Central Saanich makes moves to alieviate business transit concerns

Councillor calls for enhanced service and long-term transit passes

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

Saanich sponsors Jeux de la Francophonie giving $50,000 for the French-language Games

Couns. Susan Brice and Nathalie Chambers opposed funding, citing substantive and procedural concerns

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

Property registration crucial for Oak Bay’s deer contraception program

Got deer? Want them gone? Do your part, register your property!

VIDEO: Black bear caught climbing tree in Langford neighbourhood

Triangle Mountain residents on alert following bear sighting

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

Most Read