Given the flurry of news articles and letters in response to what is happening in the council chambers in North Saanich I wanted to make my position clear on two issues that appear to be causing considerable debate in the community.
On the issue of the Capital Regional District board appointment, I trust that everyone understands I made it quite clear to Mayor Alice Finall that a number of people had asked me to consider returning to the CRD as our director as I had six years experience in that position and they did not feel that Mayor Finall was representing the community’s bests interests at the CRD.
I understand there is an expectation that the mayor as the head of the community should attend at the CRD as the district representative. To this end, even though Coun. Dunstan Browne nominated me to sit at the CRD for a three-year term, I proposed an amendment that would return the mayor to the CRD for three one-year terms.
The only concession I asked for was that, as her alternate, she would allow me to attend the monthly Peninsula Recreation Commission meetings.
Essentially I asked her to allow me to attend one meeting a month as her alternate, and she would continue to attend all CRD board meetings and any committees that she was appointed to.
I felt that given the circumstances, I presented a more than reasonable option for the mayor and she refused it. I urge all interested readers to go to the district’s website and watch the webcast on that part of the meeting.
With respect to the Sandown matter, it was perhaps the single most important issue in my campaign. I made it abundantly clear in my literature and at the all candidates’ meetings and on the doorsteps that I could not support the proposed land swap until there were answers to many questions.
I also made it clear that I could not agree to the conditions imposed by the Agricultural Land Commission – and, I should mention, conditions that were in fact “offered” to the ALC by the district – until and unless there was considerable community input into what the community wanted to see done with the lands that the district was getting from the owner in the land swap.
Let me make this clear. In principle I am 100 per cent in support of the land swap deal. It is the unknown costs that need to be fleshed out and the incredibly restrictive conditions that must be addressed.
The mayor and councillors Elsie McMurphy and Celia Stock are suggesting we get “the prize in our pocket” and then work out the issues. That is just not good business sense.
The response to that is simply this: our hands will be so tied by the ALC restrictions and the covenant that must be placed on the land that quite frankly and honestly, there will be nothing to discuss.
We can agree to the land swap based solely on the agreement that we take the land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve for the commercial rezoning and replace it with two or three times the land mass.
For example, the public may not know the district owns a considerable section of land east of the Pat Bay Highway known as the doggy walk. We should look at the possibility of putting that land in the ALR in exchange for land we are taking out.
It gives me no pleasure whatsoever in starting a three-year term like this, but I will do what I feel that I have to do that is in the best interests of the community and not just the 100 or so who choose to attend council meetings and boo and hiss every time I open my mouth.
I will not be intimidated or bullied by that behaviour.
I have the courage to do what I feel is right for the community.
Ted Daly is a councillor in North Saanich.