Supreme Court dismisses ratepayers’ challenge; Vantreights plan to start development

Plans to build 57 units on Vantreight Farms land free to go ahead

The sun comes up over Vantreight hill

The sun comes up over Vantreight hill

Construction of a housing development could begin on Vantreight farm as soon as the fall after the Resident Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society’s application for leave to the Supreme Court of Canada was dismissed.

“We’re really happy to be moving forward without the cloud of annoyance hanging over us,” said Ian Vantreight. “We’re getting started on the all the pre-groundbreaking stuff now and hopefully by the fall we’re going to start putting services in.”

Before the society’s request for leave in the Supreme Court, Central Saanich council passed a bylaw allowing Ian Vantreight to build 57 units on 32 acres of his Central Saanich property.

The ratepayers challenged the bylaw in court on the grounds that it was contrary to the municipality’s official community plan. They lost in B.C. Supreme Court and again in B.C. Court of Appeal.

The society applied for leave to the Supreme Court in January under the pretense that it would be of no cost to them. The process was funded by West Coast Environmental Law.

Ian Cameron, president of the ratepayers society, said he was disappointed by the decision made last week.

“At this point I don’t think there’s an awful lot more we or anyone can do. This was basically the last throw of the dice,” said Cameron. “What it says to me is that OCPs are a waste of time.”

The contended property lies in the northwest corner of Vantreight’s land between East Saanich Road and Wallace Drive in Central Saanich, directly adjacent to the border with North Saanich.

There are two steps in an appeal to Canada’s highest court: An application for leave is filed and a panel of judges decides whether it will be heard. The court does not give reasons if it dismisses an application for leave.

The decision from the Supreme Court of Canada to dismiss the society’s request for leave was given July 12 by Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin and justices Marshall Rothstein and Michael Moldaver.