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Central Saanich gets priorities in order

Coun. Niall Paltiel focuses in on cenotaph, Keating corridor and skateboard park.
Coun. Niall Paltiel

The District of Central Saanich is taking a look at their strategic priorities for 2017.

“What we did just before the holidays was more of a  check up to determine that we’re still aligned between staff and council and our community,” said Councillor Niall Paltiel.

Some of the priorities include the Keating Corridor Study, a new veterans memorial and a new skate park.

“I think it’s important to have a large amount of ambitious priorities but it’s better to do a few things well, as opposed to a lot of things not so well,” said Paltiel.

He shifted away from the idea of having the skateboard park front and centre, due to the fact that there’s been government funding that hasn’t come through and there are other capital projects in the works. He said they aren’t in a place at the moment to fully fund a large scale skateboard park.

In its place, and within the scope of parks and recreation, he made a motion at last week’s committee of the whole meeting that council turn their attention to an upgrade to the lacrosse box in Centennial Park.

Whether it’s Peninsula Lacrosse, First Nations or other local associations using it, he said there’s a solid group of people who use and rely on it being in good form.

“I remember back to when my sister used it when she used to play lacrosse. For years now, it really hasn’t been in very good shape, and while the rest of Centennial is growing and there’s new playgrounds and everything, I did think it was important that we do spend some attention listening to the community and addressing some of those issues with the board…” said Paltiel.

Council then asked staff to report back on things that can be upgraded at the lacrosse box.

Another important item that came out of the strategic planning session was the ongoing study of the Keating Cross Road corridor. There will be a series of recommendations on zoning, Paltiel said, as well as others on how the Distirct taxes the area and how they address business concerns, such as the appearance of Keating Cross Road itself.

“The other thing we turned our attention to is separating the conversation between deliverables in the Keating industrial park for businesses that are existing, and to attract new businesses, but also with regards to transportation,” said Paltiel.

For years, he said, it’s been considered an advocacy piece that the District work on to lobby the provincial and federal governments for funds.

Those monies would be used for a proposed Keating overpass.

“In addition to that, what we’ve done in this new updated report is separate the two items between the study and then also investment that the District can be making on the Keating overpass.”

He said as a District they need to get going on the overpass.

“It’s both a commercial, but I would say, more importantly, I think it’s a major safety issue, not just for the District, but for the entire south Island and we need to start showing some commitment on the District side in order to get those other levels of government to come to the table.”

He said that means possibly acquiring property in the nearby area and actually turning their own attention towards concepts and designs for an overpass.

One of the other strategic priorities discussed includes one that is quite timely — the cenotaph project.

Paltiel said it’s something important for Canada’s big 150th birthday celebration this year.

“It maintains a priority and I couldn’t think of a better time to get a shovel in the ground and deliver a cenotaph for the people in the District of Central Saanich than in Canada’s 150th year.”

He applauds the work Coun. Carl Jensen has been doing as Chair of the Cenotaph Committee in keeping conversations alive and reporting back to council.