You really cannot blame a few of the councillors in the District of North Saanich for not wanting a 16-page bylaw on traffic and parking matters.
After all, plenty of the regulations within the document do not apply to the community and that level and amount of rules would make it hard for council to adjudicate concerns that arise from it.
That’s especially true for a council that seems to want to be in the middle of most debates and conflicts that their staff could easily handle, given clear direction and then a little bit of trust from the politicians.
Council is asking staff to reduce the size of the bylaw. Councillor Dunstan Browne even suggested the bylaw could be a single small paragraph — one that deals with only one specific parking issue in North Saanich.
Councillor Celia Stock has it right, however, when she calls for a document that can handle a variety of issues. As long as they are relevant issues, certainly, but more than just a single issue.
Stock sees the potential for change in North Saanich and she appears to want at least one bylaw in place that can deal with matters that right now might be unforeseen.
Isn’t that one small aspect of proper planning — thinking ahead?
There are an estimated 300 to 360 planned development units on the books at North Saanich municipal hall. That doesn’t include any other plans that have yet come into the district.
Those potential residential areas represent an impact on parking and traffic in North Saanich and that means, to some extent, conflict between neighbours.
It would be prudent for the municipality to have a bylaw in place now, in anticipation of growth. Stock is obviously quite passionate about parking issues and is urging council to be professional and to prepare for change.
Browne, during debate on June 3, said council’s business is not to make laws but to “regulate the community.”
He’s half-right. Council’s job, first and foremost, is to look out for the safety of residents in the community they serve. Doing so means having bylaws in place to set out the rules so everyone knows where the goalposts are.
Yes, have a bylaw that makes sense for North Saanich. Do not, however, shirk the responsibilities of an elected body to protect its constituents.