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

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

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read