Saanich approves councillor’s cottage

Saanich council Monday approved a development permit for Coun. Fred Haynes to build a cottage at 5009 Prospect Lake Road

Council members Monday ratified a development by one of their own.

Saanich council voted 6-1 to ratify a development permit for a cottage that Coun. Fred Haynes plans to build on Prospect Lake Road, with Coun. Vicki Sanders opposed. Haynes declared a conflict of interest and left council chambers prior to the vote.

Council had signed off on the project in June, while meeting as a committee-of-the-whole, but withheld ratification pending registration of a covenant that commits the project to the second-highest possible energy efficiency standard, be solar ready and “save the district and province harmless in the case of flooding.”

The applicant has subsequently addressed these issues, said Angila Baines, in a council memo recommending ratification.

The development saw one final twist when council received but ultimately dismissed two pieces of correspondence critical of the development.

Chief administrative officer Paul Thorkelsson described this situation as “highly unusual” after Coun. Dean Murdock had suggested giving the applicant an opportunity to address some of the additional information raised in the correspondence.

“I don’t recall a development permit application, where there has been correspondence received at this late date,” he said.

Staff, the local community association and several neighbours have publicly endorsed the proposal. Saanich received a total of 86 letters of support.

The more informal committee-of-the-whole meeting had already addressed many of the issues concerning the cottage’s placement and impact on the floodplain, he added.

“It’s quite rare this comes forward,” said Thorkelsson. “Council has to look whether it is germane to the actual development permit application or not, and you have heard from staff in terms of clarification.”

Haynes plans to build a two-storey, one-bedroom cottage, with a total area of about 1,465 square-feet, or 136 square-metres.

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