Saanich council has postponed plans for the rezoning and subdivision of an agricultural land near Falaise Park in the 800-block of Falaise Crescent after hearing concerns about the loss of four Garry oak trees. (Google).

Saanich postpones plans for rezoning and subdivision over Garry oak trees

Public also hears that owners could build single home much larger than two proposed homes

Residents of Saanich’s Falaise neighbourhood applaud the temporary postponement of plans for a subdivision, but also acknowledge that their efforts to preserve four Garry oak trees may fail.

“It’s a partial victory for the neighbourhood, but it is an indication that the council is still willing to go ahead with a rezoning [and subdivision] subject to a re-worked proposal, ” said Stuart Macpherson, a board member of the Falaise Community Association. “It was disappointing that they didn’t have a discussion on the merits of rezoning.”

RELATED: Saanich residents revive Falaise Park with community party

RELATED: Saanich neighbourhood wants province to muffle out highway noise

He made those comments after Saanich council, meeting as committee-of-the-whole, considered a proposal from Kors Development Services to rezone an agricultural lot in the 800-block of Falaise Crescent immediately south of Falaise Park into a residential lot and subdivide it.

If approved, the application would create one additional lot for a total of two lots zoned RS-10. An existing single family home would make room for two homes, leading to the loss of four Garry oak trees.

Speaking for the property owners, Denise Kors said the proposed development would be consistent with the surrounding neighbourhood and create in-fill housing in the Urban Containment Boundary close to transit, schools, and shopping. The Broadmead shopping centre lies within walking distance. Kors also said during her presentation that the design of the homes aims to minimize the loss of trees on the property itself and as well as neighbouring properties including the park.

Saanich staff said the applicant’s approach towards tree preservation would “likely have the least impact” to trees on the site.

This said, several area speakers lamented the potential loss of trees, calling on Saanich to minimize the effects.

“Those four trees are really important to the whole economy system,” said Bob Lucy, another director with the community association. “Cutting down four trees and plugging the hole with a house is really interfering with what is going on with the eco-system.”

For Macpherson, this proposal is an example of how the local Garry oak ecosystem is dying by a thousand cuts.

Arguments such these eventually convinced council to ask the applicant for a revised proposal in postponing plans for a public hearing, against the back-drop of growing concerns about the loss of Saanich’s tree canopy and climate change.

RELATED: CRD directors demand declaration of climate emergency

RELATED: Garry oaks come down on Finnerty Road

RELATED: Saanich councillor calls for interim Garry oak protection from development

But the public also heard that the current zoning permits property owners to build a single home on the lot with a maximum gross floor area of 1035 square-metres, three times the size of the two proposed dwellings. In short, residents could end up with a far larger home if the rezoning and subdivision do not go through.

While Macpherson acknowledges that argument, he considers it a “a bit of a scare tactic.”

Macpherson would like to see Saanich purchase the property and add it to the park. “I think it is a debate worth having.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Souper Bowls cook up support for Victoria youth

Youth Empowerment Society fundraising event set for April 4 at Crystal Gardens

West Shore Parks and Recreation plans new events to make up for concert cancellation

Comic Con, train show and lumber conference key pieces to recover lost revenue of Rock the Shores

Victoria Royals look ahead to Game 3 in playoff series

Best of seven series tied 1-1 after weekend play

Victoria producer’s docu-drama nominated at Canadian Screen Awards

1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus tells history from Indigneous perspective

UVic project shows Keating Elementary students a helping hand

Victoria Hand Project offers free 3D printed arms in eight countries

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Trudeau sells housing plan in visit to hot real estate market in B.C.

Trudeau said the budget contains measures to help first-time buyers

Norway opens probe into why cruise ship ventured into storm

The Viking Sky was headed for southern Norway when it had engine problems on Saturday afternoon

B.C. river cleanup crew finds bag of discarded sex toys

Chilliwack volunteers stumble on unexpected find while removing 600 lbs of trash from riverway

Fired B.C. farmland commission chair backs NDP rule changes

Richard Bullock agrees with Lana Popham, ALC records don’t

Kamloops chamber of commerce director let go after controversial Facebook posts

Facebook account had derogatory comments about Muslims, Justin Trudeau

B.C. RCMP officer cleared after Taser incident seriously injures woman

Woman with knives refused to comply with orders therefore officer used appropriate level of force

‘Bikinishe’ swimwear retailer prompts Better Business Bureau warning

Watchdog has gotten dozens of complaints about company, which has been using fake Vancouver address

Woman wants Tofino to get a nude beach

“They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

Most Read