The Ascot Jockey Club (owner of Sandown) is proposing, with the District of North Saanich, to re-zone this land by taking a 12-acre portion out of the ALR and use it for commercial purposes.
The land in question sits empty and unused. It was the former home of Sandown Horse Race Park. To my knowledge, it has not been used for significant agricultural purposes for at least 25 years. It is, however, a beautiful, flat, wide open tract of land. Even though it is situated close to the highway and airport, this is a very quiet and picturesque property.
I submit that the very best use of this land is to zone it for single family residential use. There exists within North and Central Saanich a desperate need for new affordable single family homes, To my knowledge, there has not been a thoughtfully planned residential expansion in this area for several years.
A controlled residential expansion would be vastly beneficial for local small businesses, as it would expand the clientele in the area. Many Sidney businesses are suffering and there is a lot of commercial space for rent within the city.
There is a need for homes to accommodate the expanding workforce around the airport and this land is located within a favourable area for housing for these workers.
Existing roadways and traffic flow could easily accommodate residential traffic patterns without a major capital expenditure. North Saanich would benefit from the increased tax base and there would be minimal, if any, negative effects on the rural nature and feel which exists in the area.
Such controlled single family expansions are well known. There exists such an area east of Abbotsford called Auguston. This has been well-controlled and is several times larger than the Sandown area.
Any other use of the Sandown area would be wrong and carry negative consequences for this entire area. It can never be used for farming because of the very expensive cost for the land. If this land is allowed to expand commercially with big box retail stores, it will kill all small business in Sidney, North and Central Saanich. Commercial development will detrimentally affect traffic in and out of the area and will not in any way enhance the rural feel of the area.
I urge all parties to seriously look at Sandown Park. When all factors are thoughtfully considered and vested interest groups are kept away from the decision-making, it will be evident that turning this area into a pleasant, single family residential conclave will be a win-win for community, local business and people.
Robert H. Brown