Ian Bruce of the Peninsula Streams Society and Bob Peart of the Friends of Shoal Harbour are driving forces behind the Saanich Peninsula Environmental Coalition (SPEC), which will hold a meeting Feb. 20 to present its plans for a meta-OCP guiding all three Saanich Peninsula communities (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Environmental coalition calls on Saanich Peninsula communities to develop coordinating vision

Saanich Peninsula Environmental Coalition (SPEC) to meet Feb. 20 to further agenda

A coalition of local groups wants Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney to develop an over-arching framework to help better protect the local environment, which in the words of one spokesperson knows no municipal boundaries.

The Saanich Peninsula Environmental Coalition (SPEC) consisting of nine local groups including the Friends of Shoal Harbour, the Peninsula Streams Society, and the WSANEC Leadership Council are holding a town hall meeting at St. Paul’s United Church in Sidney on Feb. 20 from 7 p.m to 9:30 to help build support for their cause.

Scheduled speakers include Bob Peart, who chairs the Friends of Shoal Harbour and coordinates SPEC, Adam Olsen, local MLA and interim leader of the provincial Green party, and Roy Brooke, executive director of Municipal Natural Assets Initiative, an organization that creates economic metrics for ecological assets.

RELATED: Sidney organizations to take formal part in official community plan review

RELATED: Local associations left out of Sidney’s OCP advisory committee

Peart said the group is in part building on a conversation around better coordination that has been going on for a decade, having recently climaxed in the Sidney Summit on Habitat and the Environment held in November 2018. The timing is also favourable, as all three communities are reviewing their official community plans.

“We have got an opportunity here with a really good MLA and three really sympathetic councils to have a conversation and a dialogue,” said Peart, adding later informal discussions have been taking place since last summer. “So one, we are taking advantage of the [political] opportunity. But the other thing is, we want to make sure that there is a healthy future for the Saanich Peninsula.”

RELATED: Sidney mayor says housing will be priority in 2020

Peart said the goal of SPEC is to encourage development of what the groups calls an Integrated Management Framework (IMF), which each of the three Saanich Peninsula communities would incorporate into its respective OCP as common key principles prior to the next municipal election in November 2022.

They hope to see the three municipalities create a meta-OCP that would serve as a vision statement that would align what Ian Bruce of the Peninsula Streams Society called “attitudes, concepts and the day-to-day planning and management.” Peart also praised the work of the WSANEC Leadership Council in helping to move the process forward.

Bruce and Peart added later that this initiative is not about amalgamation, but rather collaboration across municipal boundaries without any loss of jurisdiction.

RELATED: OCP update will review development, density: Sidney mayor

RELATED: MLA calls for coordination among Peninsula jurisdictions on climate change mitigation

“We recognize that nature is inherently amalgamated” said Bruce. “We are just trying to fix that problem [of humans dividing up nature].”

Peart said he hopes next week’s meeting will spark additional conversations with an eye towards identifying advantages, but also blindspots. “I am sure that there are things that we haven’t thought of,” he said. “The idea is kind of an nascent idea.”

Ultimately, Peart said the group hopes to see some sort of draft document towards the end of the year, then get into the OCP process.

Peart said the SPEC members have agreed the group will only exist for the purpose of this conversation only and will disband when the project is complete.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Official Community Plan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich council to dig into long-awaited garden suite study

Detached suites keep families close, provide financial flexibility, mayor says

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Firefighters tackle medium-sized grass fire on rural Saanich property

Saanich Fire Department issues warm weather fire safety reminder

BIPOC artists come together to paint mural highlighting racial injustice in Bastion Square

‘More Justice, More Peace’ to go beyond cycle of hurt and sadness

Local group of BIPOC youth host drive-in movie, panel discussion on racial injustice

The event will take place on Aug. 15 at Legacy Drive-In

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Devil’s Hand Poker Run in Campbell River to face RCMP scrutiny

The Campbell River RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the… Continue reading

Most Read