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Saanich Council approves controversial subdivision along Lochside Trail

Rezoning will allow six homes with secondary units on a formerly rural Blenkinsop property
The house at 4590 Lochside Drive slated to be torn down to make way for a six-home subdivision. (Mark Page/News Staff)

After several years and multiple plan revisions, the corner lot across from the Lochside Elementary School in the Blenkinsop Valley can now be subdivided and developed, albeit with fewer units than were initially proposed.

Saanich council has approved a rezoning application that will allow the removal of a single 1956-family home, and the building of six new homes on a cul-de-sac, each with a secondary unit.

This property is adjacent to the Lochside Trail and any redevelopment of the site has been greeted with opposition from a group of neighbours who fear increased traffic congestion and the loss of the area’s rural character.

Kathryn Day lives a couple of houses away from the site and showed up to the Feb. 26 council meeting, to voice her opposition.

“Previous Saanich councils have honoured and cherished the importance of the Blenkinsop Valley for its green space and natural beauty, its agricultural value and its ecological importance to Saanich.”

Coun. Colin Plant addressed the concern that it will be the first in a “series of dominoes” leading to the development of the Blenkinsop Valley, saying that it still falls within the urban containment boundary set to protect rural zones, and is therefore open to development while neighbouring properties are not.

The area to the west already contains single-family lots — including Day’s — while to the south are rural lots. To the north and east is the Lochside Elementary School, which several residents cited as a reason not to add more homes and more traffic to an already congested area that includes many children going to and from school.

A drawing of the proposed subdivision on Lochside Drive. (Map courtesy of District of Saanich)

Plant also noted this is a downsizing of initial proposals for the site, which included 12 single-family units, each with a secondary basement unit.

“I do think this is a reasonable, moderate compromise from what was originally devised,” Plant said in supporting this application.

Ultimately, the rezoning passed 7 to 2, with Mayor Dean Murdock summarizing his support by saying that he felt enough work had been done to mitigate impacts, and adding the need for homes to the community is worth the drawbacks of development.

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About the Author: Mark Page

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