Ian Vantreight is happy to see the sun again, both literally and metaphorically speaking now that he has a legal decision to go ahead with his housing project.
On Jan. 12 the Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society filed a challenge in provincial court alleging, “that the Municipality of Central Saanich erred in allowing the subdivision to proceed, as it is contrary to the terms of the Official Community Plan which, according to the Local Government Act of BC, takes precedence over council decisions.”
In his reasons for judgement, released April 18, the Honourable Mr. Justice Curtis stated: “I am not persuaded that bylaw 1712 is inconsistent with the Official Community Plan adopted by the District of Central Saanich and I dismiss the petition to quash the bylaw.”
“I am very pleased to have it put behind us and to move forward without this cloud hanging over us,” said Vantreight, owner of the Central Saanich farm which has been rezoned to accommodate housing.
He said the development, which includes 57 single family homes and 7.5 acres of farmland donated to the district for a community garden along with approximately 36 per cent of the site set aside for park use, open public space and trails, has been moving ahead since the bylaw was passed by the district in December.
“Council made a decision to move forward on the project, the bylaw was challenged in court and the court’s made a decision,” said Central Saanich councillor Adam Olsen. “The district will continue to proceed with the application.”
Olsen said the district followed procedure for the application. “The public was able to have input at a public hearing and council decided to proceed. From a council perspective, the decision was made and the process followed,” said Olsen.
“I have chosen to decide this matter on the merits of the application itself, without deciding the submissions of the respondent, Vantreight, that the petitioner cannot get the relief it seeks from the court because of the time within which and the manner in which it has brought its petition. I am of the opinion that the interests of justice are better served by a decision on the merits. Had I agreed with the respondent Vantreight’s preliminary argument, the result would have been the same in any event; the petition would be dismissed,” said Curtis in his judgement.
“Technically we had approval but there’s been a grey cloud hanging over the issue … hopefully this has been put to bed,” said Vantreight.
“Naturally we’re disappointed,” said Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society president Ian Cameron. “The board of the residents and ratepayers will have a look at it in the next couple of days and decide what to do.” Cameron said the board will consider appealing the verdict.