Central Saanich ratepayers hope to take Vantreight issue to Canada’s top court

Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society applies for leave to take official community plan complaint to Supreme Court of Canada

A residents organization in Central Saanich has applied to take its concerns about the Vantreight Farms development to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Last Wednesday, Jan. 25, the Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society announced they applied for leave to appeal a B.C. Court of Appeal decision on the development.

“We figured we’d spent enough money on this issue,” said Ian Cameron, president of the society, “but our lawyers felt that it was an important issue, and we decided to apply for leave if we could do it at no cost to us. West Coast Environmental Law provided funding, so we’re going ahead with it.”

The society is challenging a Central Saanich bylaw that allows the development of 37 acres of land on the Vantreight property, to create 57 single-family houses.

“The Central Saanich [official community plan] says there will be no development outside of the urban containment boundaries,” Cameron said. “The proposed Vantreight  subdivision is clearly outside of the Saanichton containment boundary, and is not allowed by the OCP. The OCP was reviewed only two years before the bylaw passed, and at that time the people of Central Saanich reaffirmed loudly and clearly that they did not want sprawl to eat up farm land. Growth was to be within the urban containment boundaries. This isn’t. It doesn’t seem reasonable that four people should be able to flout the will of hundreds of residents, elected or not.”

Vantreight won rulings from the B.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeal that decided the development did not violate Central Saanich’s official community plan.

Ian Vantreight recently told the Peninsula News Review the changes of the case making it to that level are slim. He plans to break ground on the development in the spring.

The development on Vantreight’s farm also includes 7.5 acres of farmland donated to the district for a community garden. One-third of the site would be set aside for park use, open public space and trails. Central Saanich council approved the plans one year ago.