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Proposed Christmas Avenue development in Saanich raises environmental concerns

Unanimous decision made to recess meeting until Aug. 23 to hear from biologist
Saanich council unanimously decided to recess an Aug. 10 public hearing to determine whether a development should go up near an ecologically sensitive area in Saanich, reconvening will take place on Aug. 23. (Black Press Media file photo)

Public backlash has delayed a hearing on a proposed development near an environmentally sensitive area in Saanich.

At an Aug. 10 council meeting, a development proposal was brought forward that requires a rezoning application for a property at 1544 Christmas Ave.

A development permit was considered for a multi-storey apartment building featuring surface and underground parking.

It was pre-determined by the applicant and their acting biologist that the area the development would be built on is not a wetland – a notion that Coun. Nathalie Chambers and many in the gallery for the public input portion of the meeting heavily disagreed with.

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“We should table this until a biologist is here to answer the questions to confirm because these are wetland species,” said Chambers, adding that it is in the best interest of the public, wildlife, and honouring land and species that Indigenous Peoples consider sacred.

Council unanimously decided to recess the meeting until Aug. 23 when the applicant’s biologist will be present.

When council reconvenes, the biologist will be able to explain the development with a special focus on how it will affect the ecosystem that many residents have expressed concern about.

“One of the residents’ needs that haven’t been dealt with is the need for green space,” said Lee Thiessen, who was in the gallery for the public hearing’s public input portion.

Thiessen urged council to reject the application and work toward acquiring the property in the preservation and maintenance of the surrounding, delicate ecosystem.

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