Capital Regional District (CRD) board members Wednesday unanimously submitted a revised Regional Growth Strategy to its member municipalities including Saanich for approval. Submitted

Saanich “likely” to approve new regional growth strategy

A Saanich councillor predicts that Saanich will likely approve a revised version of the document guiding regional growth following mediation.

“[CRD] board unanimously votes to send out new Regional Growth Strategy for comment,” said Colin Plant in a tweet Wednesday. “[Sixty] days now for local municipalities to approve (or not). Very likely to be approved after effective mediation.”

An earlier version of the document failed to secure the necessary unanimous support over concerns about future urban sprawl, with Saanich one of the seven refusing to endorse the document.

Saanich council rejected the initial version of the growth strategy almost exactly a year ago over concerns it failed to address affordable housing, transportation and local food production. But perhaps above all, local critics accused the document of failing to funnel development into designated centres.

“In comparison to the existing 2003 Regional Growth Strategy, it would appear that the proposed 2016 Regional Growth Strategy reduces the emphasis on a regional and focused approach to sustainable growth management,” read a Saanich staff report. Specifically, the report singles out both proposed changes to land use designations and water servicing rules.

Failure to secure unanimous support triggered a mediation process, which started in February 2017.

The mediation process eventually yielded a document that refines water servicing criteria and process requirements for addressing new water services extensions, major issues that derailed the previous agreement. Within this context, it identifies the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area communities where water extensions could occur.

The new document also provides more detailed population projections, refines content concerning parkland protection and transportation, and includes new content related to urban settlement, food systems and climate adaptation.

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