OUR VIEW: Central Saanich, learn from Sidney debacle

Lessons from Sidney's zoning bylaw strife should be remarked by residents of Central Saanich

Say the word “zoning” and watch how many people start to snore.

It’s true – zoning sounds like a bore. But it can have serious impacts for property owners.

Take the lesson learned in Sidney recently. Residents read advertisements and an article in this paper saying the town was about to change its zoning bylaw. Open houses were held and feedback was encouraged, but residents showed little interest.

When all was said and done and the zoning changed, folks finally woke up and realized what they should have paid attention to all along: their homes were affected by this perceived snooze-enducing document. There were protests and lawyers got involved, bringing that council to review the decisions it had already made.

Property owners in Central Saanich, take note. Your municipality is conducting a densification study and feedback thus far has been meagre. One open house had just 35 residents attend. That’s not enough to build a document that could so seriously affect people’s homes, council says, and we agree.

Luckily, Central Saanich is postponing any further movement on the issue of densification until adequate feedback is received.

Now is the time to get involved, not after any zoning bylaws that may come of the densification study are approved. Take notice of what your elected council is considering for the community where you live. Speak with councillors and ask questions of staff. It’s better to know beforehand than to be caught dumbfounded in the aftermath.