Sandown discussed again in new year

Proposal for former horse racing track in North Saanich on hold for now

The Sandown Park proposal is expected back before North Saanich council in mid January.

Four members voted down the recommendation from staff that would have seen the municipality sign a memorandum of understanding with the Agricultural Land Commission on the use of the 83 acres of land at Sandown and release up to $9,000 for a phase two environmental study of the land. The previous council (prior to election), released up to $10,000 to be used for assessment.

Councillors Dunstan Browne, Conny McBride, Craig Mearns and Ted Daly all said they needed more information on the costs associated with holding the land in the Agricultural Land Reserve for perpetuity.

With harness racing halted on the 95-acre property, council was concerned about what might happen with the land and approached the property owners with a proposal to have about 12 acres of municipal land moved into the ALR in exchange for the removal of 12 acres of the Sandown property close to McDonald Park Road. The proposal also includes removing commercial uses from 83 of the 95 acres and, in consideration of new commercial uses and density on 12 of the 95 acres, transfer of the remaining 83 acre parcel to municipal ownership.

Rob Buchan, chief administrative officer for North Saanich, said he expects to submit a further report addressing the issues expressed by council before the mid January meeting.