Coun. Nathalie Chambers questions the impact of a proposed subdivision on local agriculture. Submitted.

Councillor questions commitment of colleagues to protect agriculture

Concern over subdivision’s impact on local agriculture

A planned subdivision in rural Saanich will receive a public hearing, but already heard opposition.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers said the proposed subdivision threatens the survival of sustainable agriculture in Saanich, even as it satisfies development standards.

The proposal would rezone a portion of a rural property on Holland Avenue near Helmcken Road, as part of a subdivision to create three new lots. Saanich council had rejected an earlier version of the same proposal, citing many of the same concerns Chambers raised in her remarks.

RELATED: Saanich balances need for sewer with rural protection

“The pieces in question are not in the [Agricultural Land Reserve],” she said. “The Urban Containment Boundary runs through the property. So on paper, it meets the criterion. However, upon meeting this site, this is clearly a farmland area. Right now or soon, we will make the decision whether it stays that way in the future.”

Chambers also questioned her colleagues’ commitment to preserving agriculture.

“Many of the promises we made in our election campaigns were about re-affirming and protecting the Urban Containment Boundary,” she said. While this development does not affect the UCB, the local area plan talks about about protecting the UCB through buffering and biological diversity corridors, which protect sustainable agriculture.

“So when we made that promise to re-affirm the Urban Containment Boundary, to me, it wasn’t about rezoning A-1 [rural] properties,” she said.

Chambers’ argument did not win the day, as her colleagues sent the subdivision to a public hearing against staff’s recommendation.

RELATED: Saanich balancing rural and urban needs

Coun. Colin Plant acknowledged Chambers’ concerns, but noted subdivision would lie inside the UCB, as well as the sewer service area. The existing zoning already permits additional density and the applicant has promised to create a buffer, he said, adding that the applicant has also made other promises to improve sustainability.

“That being said, I am looking forward to adjudicating this at a public hearing with an open mind,” he said.

Councillors earlier also heard concerns from the public with Marlene Todd presenting a neighbourhood petition opposed to the subdivision, citing density, traffic and environmental concerns among others.

But the proposal also received support. Rishi Sharma, echoing several speakers in favour of the development, said the subdivision makes sense. It will help solve the housing crisis, improving housing affordability for families through increased density, he said.

Coun. Zac de Vries agreed with Sharma’s argument. “I actually see the smaller lot size [of the proposed subdivision] as a positive,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Last call for raffle ticket to win $6,900 necklace with 163 diamonds

Oak Bay contest funds patient care for people and families dealing with cancer

More than 30 cars get tires slashed in Oaklands neighbourhood

VicPD are asking for help from witnesses to the incidents

Working with offenders: a look at Correctional Service Canada

CSC is one of many vendors featured at the upcoming Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair

Guilty verdict for man accused of setting fire to his Esquimalt rental property

Wei Li was arrested at airport with burns to face and hands

Dunsmuir Middle School students head to the polls

Young Canadians take part in ‘mock vote’ across the country

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. scouting group’s tent destroyed by black bear on Thanksgiving

The Richmond-based Sea Dragon Sea Scouts were camping at Mount Seymour Provincial Park

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Most Read