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LETTERS: North Saanich can’t escape growth

I agree with Eric Diller. It appears there is well organized, self-interested group of residents who publish misinformation and misrepresentation to sway and bully the council’s update of the North Saanich official community plan.

By Statistic Canada data, from 1981 to 1991, average growth was 4.66 per cent, mostly on the waterfront and in Dean Park. For the next five years, that annual rate dropped to 1.54 per cent, and from 2011-2014, the growth rate was actually -0.49 per cent. In 2016, 48 per cent of residents were in the age group 50-75.

Apparently, it was acceptable for pre-1981 pristine forests to be cut so that fine homes could be built with beautiful vistas and quiet “rural” life, by developers who are now considered pariahs. Once the new residents moved in, they shut the gates and said “We’re fine. No one else can enjoy what we have.”

Now, the residents of those homes cry: Save the forests! Save the farmlands! Save our exclusivity! We are the voice of North Saanich and attack anyone who disagrees!

It is curious that there is no sense of hypocrisy, no recognition of contradictions, and no shame for spreading misinformation. The “lungs of the district” create greater traffic and pollute our air by forcing people who work in the district to live outside of the district. Protecting private paradises by pushing residential growth to Sidney and Saanichton is selfish and unsupportable.

The OCP renewal process is flawed, and the district is learning how it can better serve the residents in the next phases of that process. Groups such as the North Saanich Residents Association represent a small minority of the residents of the district but has had a significant representation in the OCP process to date. Hopefully, the district will find a way to involve all residents rather than be overrun by the noise of a minority.

I do not agree with all of the proposed OCP ideas, but they should be considered seriously and without the current chaos and attacks. North Saanich is a great place to live, a characteristic that can be retained even with thoughtful growth.

Warren Wolfe

North Saanich

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