Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor says efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and fight climate change appear on the top of agenda for Central Saanich in 2020. (Black Press Media Files/Submitted)

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor says efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and fight climate change appear on the top of agenda for Central Saanich in 2020. (Black Press Media Files/Submitted)

Central Saanich Mayor says housing and climate change are top priorities heading into 2020

Ryan Windsor says community has heard no concerns over Peninsula’s first retail cannabis outlet

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor said efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and fight climate change appear on the top of agenda for Central Saanich in 2020.

“Where do workers live, how do people afford housing, what kind of housing ultimately gets build will continue to be issues because of cost of living is a factor,” he said in a year-end-interview with the Peninsula News Review. “It affects people directly and the biggest expense generally is housing. I don’t expect that to change as a focus area in 2020.”

Windsor said current projections show the number of below-market housing units will rise to 186 from 80 units in the coming two years.

Overall, Windsor expects housing to be a priority in 2020, a point brought up earlier in December, when council considered a staff report that projects a housing shortfall of about 375 dwelling units by 2036 under the current Official Community Plan policies and land use bylaw regulations. The report projects that Central Saanich will grow at a rate of close to one per cent, with rental vacancies remaining persistently low at 0.6 per cent. The report notes among other points that housing affordability has increasingly become a challenge as the market continues to drive prices upward.

To this end, council has tasked staff to bring forward amendments to the Official Community Plan designed to encourage more infilling following public consultations earlier in 2019.

RELATED: Central Saanich seeks input on housing policy

These changes will in turn inform a larger update of the Official Community Plan that will start in 2020 and continue into 2021 with a total cost of $150,000.

“It’s not a total rewrite, but it is also not a light touch,” said Windsor. “It is examining things thoroughly in the current document and bringing them into alignment with the reality of increased housing prices. Those were less of a factor in 2008 [during the last update]. We have had an increase of 65 per cent in property values in that time.”

Windsor said the municipality will also continue to move forward with various measures to fight climate change. They include steps to replace the municipality’s vehicle fleet with electric vehicles.

“They are some exciting things going on there [in the market for the electric vehicles] that will make it possible for us to transition some more of our vehicles in the next couple of years,” he said.

Looking at the bigger picture, Windsor said most of the community is reasonably well-protected from the effects of climate change. Some of that is geography, some of that is climate, he said. “In terms of infrastructure, we are updating our infrastructure to make sure it is resilient,” he said.

Overall, the District continues to identify areas of concern and priority within its climate action plan, said Windsor, who noted later that Central Saanich has one of the largest solar installations on Vancouver Island,

RELATED: Central Saanich Fire Dept. now sun powered – good for budget and environment

He also sounded optimistic about the timeline for the proposed $44-million flyover bypass at the intersection of Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road.

Current projections call for ground-breaking in 2021 with construction completed in 2023, he said.

RELATED: Proposal for Brentwood Bay pot shop still on the table

Central Saanich also heads into 2020 as the first community on the Saanich Peninsula with a recreational cannabis retail outlet after council had approved a store in May 2019 in the 6700-block of Veyaness Road on the basis of a temporary licence which Windsor says will give the municipality some leeway in the future. Buds Cannabis opened its doors on Dec. 1 and so far Windsor has heard no concerns.

“To date, there has been nothing of note in the community that I have heard about it,” said Windsor. “Some people do not like them, other people think they are good,” he said. “That mixed opinion still exists, but this one has created no issues.”

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
8 old-growth logging protesters arrested in Fairy Creek watershed Friday

A total of 214 people have been arrested as of June 11

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

A temporary urgent and primary care centre will open in Esquimalt this week, offering residents more health care options in their own community. (Black Press Media file)
Esquimalt’s temporary urgent and primary care centre to open Monday

The Esquimalt Health Unit will house the temporary site, permanent location opening in December

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Most Read