I have lived in Central Saanich for over 40 years. I have seen many changes including the transformation of Maber Flats from a profitable farm land to split up ALR properties.
Over the past decade the Agricultural Land Commission has allowed these small farm property owners to in-fill what used to be a winter flood plain. This natural occurrence would then drain off and be farmable for the late spring and summer months. Now that three properties in particular have been allowed to fill in this land for their own convenience, water on this land — normally flooded in winter and spring — is now flooded throughout the beginning of the farming year and into summer.
Mr. Ireland has stated flooding of his property and one other property in particular has been a problem. My response to them is that they knew full well when they bought those properties that the water swelling was part of the natural ecosystem.
If you take a contained body of water and fill part of it in with soil, the water has to go somewhere. This should never have been allowed to happen. It has seemed to the neighbours in this area that there has been a competition between two of these properties to change the state of the geography to suit their own with no consideration as to the future viability of the land.
There are other alternatives not explored and that Central Saanich council is speculating on the backs of their residents. It absolutely baffles me as to why this municipality would take on the financially onerous task of supposedly caring for this area without outside help.
I understand that The Land Conservancy could become involved and with their expertise there may be a basis to work together to preserve what is left of this wetland.
Widening the agricultural drainage system that exists there now is one thing, but the incomplete plan to take ownership of this at taxpayers expense makes no sense.
The Agricultural Advisory Commission has expressed concerns that have not been addressed to this date. Long term expenses have not been taken into consideration and I would hate to think that the residents of Central Saanich would be singly responsible not only for this predominant wetland, but the ongoing financial obligation that it comprises.