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LETTER: North Saanich’s rural lifestyle should be preserved

The recent letter from Mr. Diller states that housing is a regional issue. True, and so are agricultural lands and natural landscapes. Municipalities do not share an equal responsibility to provide all amenities. The CRD’s Regional Growth Strategy defines an Urban Containment Policy Area to accommodate new growth for the whole region. That area is within the border described as the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB); North Saanich, characterized as a rural/rural-residential community, is completely outside the UCB.

The overarching intention is to reduce development pressure on our rural areas “to ensure that they remain strongly rooted in the agricultural … land base” and to “allow the rural countryside and natural landscape to remain as a durable fact of life in the Capital Region.”

As a rural/rural-residential municipality, North Saanich is part of the regional plan that recognizes the benefits to the whole region from the amenities that North Saanich provides: agricultural lands to feed us; trees to provide oxygen and mitigate the effects of climate change; parks to enrich and restore our spirits; marine ecosystems to provide food for body and soul, carbon storage, and recreational opportunities.

Increased densities have been proposed by the OCP project team for many rural/rural-residential areas in North Saanich including ALR land. Suggesting that development to the extent proposed by the project team will actually preserve rural and agricultural areas, as Mr. Diller does, defies logic.

Approximately 98 per cent of the nearly 300 North Saanich residents who wrote to council over the last few months, and over 250 who attended a rally, are predominantly in favour of the current vision for North Saanich – this is hardly a “very small [disgruntled] group.” No doubt they represent many others. It should surprise no one that the people of North Saanich moved here because we like it the way it is, and that we speak out to preserve important regional assets.

Bernadette Greene

North Saanich