A group that supports the Sandown proposal is hosting an open forum to discuss the plan with the public, before it comes back to council.
The Friends of Sandown Community Farm, comprised of North Saanich residents Springfield Harrison, David Olsen and others, and environmentalist Vicky Husband, organized a meeting where people can “get a fuller picture” of the proposal, which would convert part of the 95-acre Sandown property into commercial use and seal the rest into the Agricultural Land Reserve in perpetuity, if approved.
“It’s an incredible proposal,” Husband said. “I think people don’t understand the value to the community.”
Green Party MP Elizabeth May, who represents the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding and longtime Saanich Peninsula farmer Robert Maxwell will act as panellists for the discussion, which Husband will moderate.
Olsen said the discussion will give North Saanich residents the opportunity to talk about the proposal and ask questions.
“The idea is for people to all be together and speak to what their feelings are, so [council is] hearing from the community that this is what we feel,” he said.
North Saanich’s mayor and six councillors were sent invitations, as was Sandown owner Bill Randall.
The Friends of Sandown group are all in favour of the proposal, “but our idea is to give an opportunity for everyone to come together and be a part of the discussion. It’s a very open approach to it,” Husband said. “It’s a non-partisan event, it’s an objective event so people can get a fuller picture of what it’s about.
“There’s no other community I know that has an opportunity just like this.”
Council plans to discuss the proposal again mid-January, after four councillors voted on Dec. 12 against two motions that would have pushed the process ahead.
The Friends of Sandown Community Farm’s meeting happens Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Presbyterian church at 9296 East Saanich Rd.