B.C.’s Agricultural Land Commission has extended the time for owners to remediate a former horse racing track in North Saanich.
In late November, says North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall, the ALC gave the owners of the Sandown property, the Randall family, until November 2017 to complete plans to make the majority of the property suitable for agricultural activity and complete a drainage plan. Finall added the Sandown owners and development company, Platform Properties, have made progress, including having submitted their plans for site reclamation and drainage control to both the District and the ALC this past summer.
There are still conditions the owners must meet, under a phased development agreement with the District, including installing a fence and subdividing the land. As well, 83 acres of the 95-acre site is yet to be transferred to the District. North Saanich plans to use that portion for agricultural use — which is not yet determined and has been part of workshops and public meetings with CR-FAIR.
Finall said she expects the remediation work will start in 2017, adding people could see the demolition of the horse racing buildings on site early in the new year.
“As well, a second environmental assessment is to be done,” she continued, “and there will be a traffic study done.”
The latter is a District requirement from the owner, as they look to develop the remaining 12 acres as a commercial site.
Already, the District has received a development variance permit application from Canadian Tire, looking to build on a portion of the site. Finall said that application has been approved and there could be more activity on the property in the new year.
The Sandown development has been controversial in the community. The group Concerned Citizens of North Saanich presented a petition opposing it to council this past fall.
The development is competing for attention with the proposed Sidney Gateway commercial area on Victoria Airport Authority Land. The VAA, according to Vice-President of Operations and Development James Bogusz, has yet to receive a final development plan for Gateway from Omicron Developments.