LETTER: An eco ‘logical’ update on the EDPA

Letter writer invites public to Saturday’s EDPA public hearing at Pearkes

We need to protect the critical ecosystems in Saanich and in the EDPA.

I am grateful to live in Saanich in the rainshadow of a globally renowned marine and biological diversity hotspot. Saanich is also located in a significant cultural area and is in the territory of the Coast Salish, W̱SÁNEĆ, Songhees, Lekwungen and Esquimalt people, who managed these areas for approximately to 14,000 years and whose land management techniques, such as prescribed burning to enhance berry production, maintenance of open camas fields, etc., and encouraged other food species.

The First Nations did not think of ownership as we do today, they did not believe that you owned the land but belonged to the land. Their role was one of steward, they were master survivalists, revered nature and always put thought to future generations. Our current ecology the Garry oak ecosystem, and the legacy of fertility that we enjoy here on the Saanich Peninsula is a result of their activities.

Thats right the fertility that we benefit and enjoy here on the Saanich Peninsula from was culturally derived.

At Madrona Farm we use this leaf mulch solely, composted over one to five years, to maintain fertility. There are also many endemic specialist pollinators associated with the Garry oak ecosystem which are critical to agriculture/food growing. Garry oak buffers are critical to successful agriculture in Saanich.

We cannot consider our food security in isolation of protection of the Garry oak ecosystem.

Much of the remaining cultural legacy and remnant Garry oak ecosystems exist in Saanich and in the EDPA permit area.

This Saturday, Saanich residents will be put to task and need to consider how we can protect and pass this legacy of fertility that we now reside here on Saanich on to future generations.

How can we transcend our rights of ownership that give us the right to destroy ecosystems so that we can respect the rights of future generations and diversity of life? How can owners be treated fairly? How can we acknowledge owners that steward their properties?

After five months of door knocking in Saanich during the byelection campaign I was so pleased to see so many beautiful yards. Owners use their rights of ownership to care and steward biological diversity even when their neighbours may have cut their trees down for a view.

I think owners that host large portions of biological diversity on their properties do it for the municipality as a whole. They create insulation and protection from the effects of climate change, erosion, extreme weather events and flooding. I believe those owners are exemplars (Saanich Legacy Steward) and should receive tax incentives, financial assistance and assistance with Ecological Restoration.

Residents with important biodiversity should be apply to apply for EDPA inclusion. All of Saanich Park lands and sensitive ecosystems should also be added to the EDPA.

Saanich municipality needs to be the exemplar of all exemplars in all aspects of municipal governance. Adhering to bylaws, etc. Saanich Parks needs to model to owners all aspects of yard care, ecosystem management, including but not limited to invasive species pulling.

Stewardship and legacy building is exciting it is a collective action towards a collective future, it is a great way to heal our relationship with the environment and build community.

Nathalie Chambers

Saanich

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