We must be ever conscious of our decision-making

The current severe drought situation in California is just one of the many indicators of increasing pressures on world food production

Re: Guest Cottages are the tip of the iceberg (PNR, Feb. 21, 2014).

The writer suggests that I, as mayor of North Saanich, ignore agriculture and environmental issues: Puzzling and simply wrong!

I believe we must all be vigilant with regard to our precious and finite agricultural lands and the unique character of North Saanich. We must be ever conscious in our decision-making about the future we are shaping for our children’s children. I believe that my actions demonstrate that commitment. Following my election as mayor in 2008, council adopted our Community Whole Agriculture Strategy following extensive and rewarding community consultation. We also pursued an Agricultural Economic Development Strategy. Prior to my election, I was part of a group of wonderful local volunteers who established our North Saanich Farm Market, a resounding success.

However, I do understand the writer’s concern over subdivisions. I have consistently opposed the decisions of the present council permitting spot rezoning of subdivisions, particularly in the southeast quadrant of the municipality.  Allowing such subdivisions in settled and established areas creates two main land use issues. First, it sets a precedent and raises expectations for others. Second, piece-meal subdivision upzoning in settled regions can ultimately change the much-valued character of our neighbourhoods.

The current severe drought situation in California, attributable to climate change, is just one of the many indicators of increasing pressures on world food production and supply. Of all the land in the Capital Region, only 5.4 per cent remains in the ALR.

I consistently advocate for the protection of our remaining agricultural land base and support for those who farm it.

Alice Finall, Mayor

North Saanich