Plans for a library near the Panorama Recreation Centre received a boost after the Agricultural Land Commission approved North Saanich’s application to exclude 6.4 hectares (almost 16 acres) from the ALR. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Plans for a library near the Panorama Recreation Centre received a boost after the Agricultural Land Commission approved North Saanich’s application to exclude 6.4 hectares (almost 16 acres) from the ALR. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Land exclusion boosts plans for library in North Saanich

ALC says proposed location for new library unsuitable for agriculture

A provincial body has given plans for a new library in North Saanich near the Panorama Recreation Centre a major boost.

The Agricultural Land Commission has approved North Saanich’s application to exclude 6.4 hectares (almost 16 acres) from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The property slated for exclusion lies in the northwest corner of the lot containing the Panorama Recreation Centre. With the exclusion, North Saanich can now subdivide the smaller lot from its parent lot, thereby allowing the establishment of a library on a separate, transferable title of land.

“This is good news,” said Mayor Geoff Orr of the ALR’s decision.

RELATED: Public submissions show large opposition to library plans in North Saanich

RELATED:North Saanich residents to comment on library plans

The public heard Monday that the municipality will now explore the possibility of bringing a “community facility with Vancouver Island Regional Library service” to the location. Staff have previously signalled an openness toward other options.

Previous plans had identified the northwest corner of the current recreation centre as the preferred location for a new library, which according to staff “would complement the existing community facilities on site and would be accessible to residents of North Saanich, Sidney, and Central Saanich,” as per an earlier report.

The ALC had rejected non-farm use of the site for a library in April 2019. But if the commission said no then, it also signalled that it could support an exclusion application, now a fait accompli.

The ALC said in its decision that the property “is not suitable for agricultural use due to its cumulative historical uses (45 years) and site coverage for community recreational use (buildings and parking lots).” Accordingly, there “is no agricultural rationale for the retention of the property in the ALR.”

A public hearing held in the summer revealed large public opposition (but also some support) for a new library, with critics expressing concern about the impact on the ALR among other points.

RELATED: North Saanich submits ALR exclusion despite large opposition

But the ALC appeared to reject that argument. The commission said in its ruling that “the majority of correspondence expressed concern regarding losing green space rather than agricultural land,” adding that “concerns regarding green space and planned development of the (property) would be more appropriately addressed by the (municipality).”

Council, including Coun. Brett Smyth who had previously opposed the exclusion application, voted to forward the ALC’s decision to staff with the subject now becoming part of council’s upcoming strategic planning session on Dec. 10 with the broader future of library services as shared with Sidney on the agenda.

While Smyth acknowledged his previous opposition, he said there is no further need for positioning.

“The residents will get a chance to weigh in on whatever might happen in the future,” he said.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

An architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Saanich has awarded the tender for a youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive to Bike Track Ltd. for $242,000. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich selects company to build youth bike skills track at Tripp Station Park

More than $240,000 allotted for Bike Track Ltd. to design bike park

A Seed and Stone rendering for White Rock, B.C. (Seed and Stone rendering)
Songhees Nation to open two Victoria cannabis stores spring 2021

Seed and Stone stores will open on Gordon Street and in the Bay Centre

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Most Read