Coun. Nathalie Chambers questions the impact of a proposed subdivision on local agriculture. Submitted.

Councillor questions commitment of colleagues to protect agriculture

Concern over subdivision’s impact on local agriculture

A planned subdivision in rural Saanich will receive a public hearing, but already heard opposition.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers said the proposed subdivision threatens the survival of sustainable agriculture in Saanich, even as it satisfies development standards.

The proposal would rezone a portion of a rural property on Holland Avenue near Helmcken Road, as part of a subdivision to create three new lots. Saanich council had rejected an earlier version of the same proposal, citing many of the same concerns Chambers raised in her remarks.

RELATED: Saanich balances need for sewer with rural protection

“The pieces in question are not in the [Agricultural Land Reserve],” she said. “The Urban Containment Boundary runs through the property. So on paper, it meets the criterion. However, upon meeting this site, this is clearly a farmland area. Right now or soon, we will make the decision whether it stays that way in the future.”

Chambers also questioned her colleagues’ commitment to preserving agriculture.

“Many of the promises we made in our election campaigns were about re-affirming and protecting the Urban Containment Boundary,” she said. While this development does not affect the UCB, the local area plan talks about about protecting the UCB through buffering and biological diversity corridors, which protect sustainable agriculture.

“So when we made that promise to re-affirm the Urban Containment Boundary, to me, it wasn’t about rezoning A-1 [rural] properties,” she said.

Chambers’ argument did not win the day, as her colleagues sent the subdivision to a public hearing against staff’s recommendation.

RELATED: Saanich balancing rural and urban needs

Coun. Colin Plant acknowledged Chambers’ concerns, but noted subdivision would lie inside the UCB, as well as the sewer service area. The existing zoning already permits additional density and the applicant has promised to create a buffer, he said, adding that the applicant has also made other promises to improve sustainability.

“That being said, I am looking forward to adjudicating this at a public hearing with an open mind,” he said.

Councillors earlier also heard concerns from the public with Marlene Todd presenting a neighbourhood petition opposed to the subdivision, citing density, traffic and environmental concerns among others.

But the proposal also received support. Rishi Sharma, echoing several speakers in favour of the development, said the subdivision makes sense. It will help solve the housing crisis, improving housing affordability for families through increased density, he said.

Coun. Zac de Vries agreed with Sharma’s argument. “I actually see the smaller lot size [of the proposed subdivision] as a positive,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

CRD welcomes delegates from Jordan for solid waste management study

The Jordanian delegates arrived in Canada on Oct. 19

Chef recalls ‘attic full of smoke’ during Four Mile restaurant fire Tuesday

Food saved as power restored to the eatery around noon Wednesday

Victoria’s Bay Street Bridge to re-open on Monday

Two-way traffic will be going through during the day

Re-Greta-bly, Thunberg won’t visit Victoria, despite Olympic athlete ready to row her over

Climate activist clarified Tuesday night she won’t have time to visit the Island

Blown transmission leaves van parked on Victoria sidewalk

Quick-thinking driver got it off the road, leaving space for pedestrians and traffic

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Are you satisfied with the result of the federal election?

The ballots have now been counted and the dust has settled on… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Oct. 22, 2019

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Chill with polar bears through an Arctic live cam

Cam reopens just ahead of Polar Bear Week

Aquilini companies deny negligence in U.S. vineyard fire that killed two kids

Fire occurred at Red Mountain Vineyard, located in southeast Washington State

Surrey cop killer gets new parole conditions

Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, 23, was shot dead on March 29, 1974

Former Kelowna Hells Angels associate could be deported, court rules

David Revell has lost his fight against deportation from Canada

‘Find Trevor’: B.C. man’s dog leads searchers to rescue him after fall during hike

‘I’ve had lots of intelligent dogs, but Purple is in a class herself’

Most Read