Private crews spent Thursday morning clearing out the undergrowth of lots of Milner Avenue, where Kasapi Construction plans to build a sub-division. Area residents believe that the work aims to tip the application in the developer’s favour. (Wolf Depner/News Staff).

Residents accuse developer of playing ‘dirty’ over sensitive eco-system in Saanich

Resident says Kasapi Construction tries to create facts on the ground over sub-division application

A local developer is trying to create facts on the ground by clearing a sensitive Garry oak eco-system of its undergrowth, says a Saanich resident speaking for a group of concerned residents in the North Quadra area.

Stefanie Cepeda offered this assessment Thursday morning as private crews were clearing four lots off Milner Avenue of its under-growth. Last August, Saanich told Kasapi Construction to revise their plans for a sub-division on the properties after staff raised a number of environmental issues.

“This proposal is viewed as highly overdensified for the sensitive and valuable ecosystem present,” staff said in asking for revisions. “Would like to see a proposal that includes fewer lots, greater protection of the QEP [Qualified Environmental Professional] identified sensitive areas and perhaps includes a larger common area protected under natural state covenant, and a restoration plan.”

RELATED: Subdivision planned for area once protected by EDPA

RELATED: Neighbourhood praises Saanich’s decision to deny subdivision

Cepeda said Saanich staff specifically identified the under-growth of the area for protection and this clean-up — which started Wednesday — represents a bad faith attempt by the developers to tip the application in their favour.

“So they are playing dirty,” she said. “They are absolutely trying to get rid of the problem,” she added later.

Cepeda said this move by the developer makes a “mockery” of Saanich’s environmental protection process. (By way of background, staff are currently working on ways to replace the Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) bylaw, which had protected the four lots, until council rescinded the bylaw, following criticism from a small but vocal lobby of home-owners who argued that the bylaw diminished control of their properties and their values).

“The vegetation that they are stripping would have been protected under the EDPA,” said Cepeda, who also used the occasion to criticize councillors, who voted in favour of eliminating the EDPA.

“Councillors who repealed the EDPA, and all those who have failed to replace it in a timely way, must be held responsible for the environmental destruction that has happened today,” she said.

Kelsie McLeod, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich, said the sub-division application remains active, and staff have been on site today, where they found no evidence of any infractions against Saanich’s tree removal bylaw.

“As for the removal of the under-story vegetation, staff have doubled checked other relevant legislation and can find no contraventions at the present time,” she said. “Without a specific assessment of the site by a qualified professional, it can not be confirmed if the vegetation being cleared would or would not have been protected under the old EDPA.”

The Saanich News has reached out to representatives of Kasapi Construction for comment, and will update this story accordingly.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich driver races to Chairman’s Trophy in Mission

Bill Okell has driven the same race car for 44 years

Local school districts gear up for the new back to school season

Seismic upgrades, inclusion and student safety are priorities

Camosun’s continuing education site a quick hit

Hundreds of courses available to launch new career opportunities

Peninsula firefighters spend the summer in intensive training

No rest for personnel as they improve high tower, role-plays and marina fire fighting skills

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read