Joel Tansey/Black Press
North Saanich officials are delighted to have received a measure of provincial recognition for their extensive work with the Sandown Initiative.
The district was given an award for Community Excellence in the category of Leadership and Innovation - Agriculture at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria.
The municipality was recognized because of its creativity and community engagement with the initiative.
“The Sandown Initiative has been a very important effort for this community over the past six years…It is wonderful to see this important project advance as it will benefit current and future generations,” said Mayor Alice Finall in a statement. “Being recognized for an agricultural project of provincial importance and innovation is gratifying and recognizes the very hard work and commitment of council, staff and the community.”
Rob Buchan, chief administrative officer for the District, echoed Finall’s statement.
“It’s an honour to be seen by peers in local government…as being a leader and an innovator in agriculture,” he told the News Review.
The District initially received an application to exclude 12 of the 95 acres of Sandown’s site from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in 2011 for commercial development.
A key component of the proposal was the transfer of the remaining 83 acres of the property to the municipality for agricultural purposes.
Additionally, the 12 acres excluded from the reserve were to be replaced by 12 acres of municipal land to be put back into the ALR, resulting in no net loss to the ALR within the District.
An application for commercial development of the site has been received by District staff and is currently being processed.
Following extensive community engagement, the District released a report titled Vision Sandown in February of this year.
The municipality is waiting for commercial development to begin before making a decision on the development of a community agricultural resource on Sandown’s remaining 83 acres.