Messrs. Gore, Olsen and Peart have pinpointed the political situation in North Saanich with laser-like precision. Their letters should be featured on every refrigerator and be referred to frequently. Each puts forth solid facts and well-founded opinions.
On the other hand, Mr. Harker’s letter offers the usual weak rationale for development but does raise two points.
First, what is a reasonable share for North Saanich in contributing to the housing needs of the region? Similarly, one could inquire about Sidney and Esquimalt contributing more to their share of the regional agricultural land base and View Royal expanding their share of regional marine parks? Just because North Saanich has a perceived abundance of underutilized or vacant land, doesn’t mean that it should automatically be converted into housing.
Why is the only legitimate use of farmland or larger lots automatically assumed to be smaller lot housing? This is a traditional imperative that stems from development pressure rather than community demand.
It is easy to argue that North Saanich should safeguard its agricultural land in the interests of regional food security.
Society demands a variety of land uses and housing types; North Saanich is richly endowed with more rural and agricultural resources and that is its reasonable contribution to the pool of CRD amenities. Each municipality cannot, nor should not, attempt to supply every need for every resident. The resulting homogeneity would be drearily unattractive.
Second, in remarking, “Let’s start building,” Mr. Harker is completely setting aside the process of region-wide community planning. The alternative, which we now face, sees the planning professionals displaced by developers. They are attempting to convince us that spot rezoning of their arbitrarily positioned land is a reasonable substitute for the broad area planning envisioned in the RGS and OCP. We should be very cautious before we allow land speculators to usurp the legitimate role of community planners.