Re: North Saanich candidates take team approach, (PNR Oct. 14)
Regarding supposed increase in taxes, council has controlled expenditures, resulting in reductions in annual tax increases over the past three years. With previous councils between 2005 and 2008, annual tax increases ranged from eight per cent to over 10 per cent. In my term as mayor, council has capped increases to five per cent or lower. North Saanich continues to have the lowest residential taxes in the Capital Regional District.
Regarding regulations, no bylaws passed during the current term have increased regulation of citizens.
To the contrary, the zoning and wildfire bylaws have been simplified to reduce red tape, costs and confusion. Changes to the land use bylaws in this term have expanded uses for residents rather than regulating them more tightly.
Development fees were reviewed last year after almost 20 years with no increase. This council unanimously resolved an increase reflecting the actual cost of processing applications. Taxpayers are no longer subsidizing fees that should be paid by private development. The number and value of building permits has increased since 2009 and business licenses continue to increase.
There was a statement that there has been “never-ending consultants’ reports, lawsuits and redundant reviews”.
The one review, regarding the Deep Cove sewer project completed in 2007, was necessary because of substantial cost overruns, poor communications and other problems. The current council unanimously adopted all 11 consultant’s recommendations to improve future project management.
Only two lawsuits have been undertaken due to complaints from residents respecting serious bylaw infractions.
I recommend that residents check generalized statements, to ensure they have accurate, balanced information.
Mayor, North Saanich