It seems that Central Saanich council are pulling the wool over our eyes.
Decisions such as the approvals of the Co-op relocation at West Saanich Road, the Vantreight subdivision proposal, and the Senanus water line make it hard to see how the public interest is served.
Not to be outdone by the reverse marketing geniuses, council employed similar tactics of assuming citizen approval of a major expenditure (new fire hall) unless some critical mass of citizens actively objects. They gave it the euphemism Alternative Approval Process. Will similar tactics be used in proceeding with a new, multimillion dollar municipal hall? And how did a new $800,000 tennis court get built without communication with Central Saanich taxpayers?
The proposed new fire hall some would consider to be in the public interest (estimated cost $8.9 million). And of course there will be more space in the new hall so more staff and firetrucks will likely become necessary.
I agree that a fire hall is necessary, However, the new fire hall proposal appears to have been justified by the age old expedient of paying consultants to pass judgement that renovating the existing one is going to cost more than building a new one. Maybe a council that is cost conscious and not captured by special interest groups could initiate more critical governance and get the job done for less.
Decisions like these would likely lead to urban sprawl, result in significant increases in property taxes and are contrary to Central Saanich’s Official Community Plan (which identifies the big picture for the future of Central Saanich, as approved by us, the citizens). It appears to me that they have not been made in the public interest but more for the benefit of special interests and developers.
In the meantime, the Keating industrial area is ill and perhaps dying (Co-op, Home Hardware, etc. vacating) and council does not appear to be administering any medicine.
It is ironic that some councillors ran on a minimum spending platform and they are now in the forefront of reckless decision making and spending.
The preceding is not an indictment of all councillors. A minority have been responsible.
I suggest, dear reader, that you inform yourself of these issues before the election.
Most of the present council has to be replaced because their inclinations are simply not in our best interest. There is an opportunity to stop the skulduggery at the upcoming municipal elections.
Editor’s note: Local governments can use the Alternative Approval Process under Part 4, Division 2 of the Community Charter as a method to gauge public opinion in regard to certain types of proposed bylaws, agreements, or other matters. It is most commonly used in relation to long-term borrowing bylaws.