Eric Dahli (right), here seen speaking to local MP Murray Rankin about derelict boats on Cadboro Bay in the summer, likes Saanich’s direction on housing, but hopes the politics of the upcoming election won’t distract from good policies. Black Press file photo

Community leader predicts “fun” year for Saanich

Longtime resident Eric Dahli has many reasons for liking Saanich. They include its size and livability. But he also appreciates how the community can work together on issues like housing.

In late 2016, Saanich all but formally rejected plans for the redevelopment of Townley Lodge, an affordable housing complex.

This move drew considerable criticism, and consultations involving various parties eventually revived the project. Other initiatives, in part led by Dahli himself, are now underway. “[Coun. Fred Haynes] seems to be taking the lead here, and with my background in non-profit housing, we are going to start looking for areas that are receptive to rentals,” he said.

Dahli in many ways personifies this spirit of co-operation.

As president of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association and past chair of Greater Victoria Housing Society, he has the ears of the both local and regional decision-makers. He is a familiar face and voice at Saanich council meetings and other public forums, where the public and their elected officials deliberate issues affecting the community.

He has been instrumental in helping to clean up both the Saanich and Oak Bay side of Cadboro Bay, building coalitions like the Dead Boat Society along the way. He has the ear of provincial and federal representatives.

Oak Bay – Gordon Head MLA and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver appreciated this point first hand over the summer, when the provincial government agreed to support stalled efforts to remove derelict boats from the Oak Bay side of Cadboro Bay, with Dahli being perhaps the most persistent voice for provincial support.

“He has been a royal pain in the butt,” said Weaver with a laugh, earlier this year. “But I commend him for his tenacity. He deserves a ton of credit for it.”

Against this background, Dahli looks forward to an interesting 2018. “[It] is going to be fun,” he said.

The list of issues that dominated 2017 is a long one, but none looms larger than the various controversies both large and small around a controversial bylaw designed to protect environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) — the Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) bylaw.

Saanich council voted 5-4 to strike this bylaw from its books, a move that did not necessarily end the various controversies, but only intensified.

Dahli predicts that the debate around the EDPA will die in 2018, only to start all over again with the municipal election of Oct. 20, 2018. “I sure hope the ego factor will not get in the way of some good results,” he said.

Overall, Dahli says Saanich offers a lot, but he would also like to see it become more confident in its dealings. Saanich, for example, gets no credit for its pivotal role in the Capital Regional District. “Saanich is like the [mid-western region] in the U.S.A., the ‘fly-over states’ and the bread basket of the area when combined with Central and North Saanich.” He says therer is too much focus falls on downtown Victoria, as well as the airport and ferry terminal.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney part of a region that suffers ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Consultants find that Sidney needs 233 new spaces to meet the current demand for daycare

Thieves harvest from 11 unlocked cars in Oak bay

Looting unlocked cars called ‘farming,’ says deputy chief

Friday night tickets affect Saturday behaviour at the University of Victoria

Saanich police see direct response after issuing several $230 fines

HMCS Victoria popping up as training sessions underway

MARPAC says plume of smoke normal for recharging submarine

West Shore RCMP seeks video footage after homeowner interrupts Colwood break and enter

Police were called to 600-block of Stornoway Drive late Sunday

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

COVID-19 liquor, music rules extended with fines

‘Nightclubs must cease operating as nightclubs’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Carole James heads ‘caretaker’ B.C. government

James is among 15 MLAs retiring at the end of their current term

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Most Read