Cows moo-ve into Gordon Head

Residential Gordon Head may soon be a smellier, louder place

Residential Gordon Head may soon be a smellier, louder place, as the owners of a piece of agricultural land move forward on their plans to put a cattle farm in the middle of a neighbourhood.

Don Alberg, who owns 1516 Mount Douglas X Rd. with the his siblings Gordon Alberg and Florence Davis, told the News this week the cows will move in Tuesday.

The 1.64-hectare property was last year slated to become a 12-lot residential subdivision, which Saanich council rejected. Then it was to become a 12,000-hen poultry farm, which Saanich planning rejected.

While the Albergs want the property to become housing, they say they’re stuck between a rock and hard place, with their property sitting in development limbo.

Mayor Frank Leonard said he’s tried to be an advocate for the Albergs, sympathizing with their frustrations surrounding conflicting views on zoning and farmland. But this new move, the mayor said, is testing that.

“I think they’re acting emotionally, rather than rationally. And I think they’re hoping the neighbours act emotionally, as opposed to rationally,” Leonard said. “(The Albergs) were successful in using the poultry operation as a means to motivate the neighbours to convince council to send the property to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).”

In December, council voted 8-1 to send a potential rezoning application to the ALC. Because the property is protected farmland, the ALC must first approve removing it from the Agricultural Land Reserve before the municipality can approve rezoning.

But the Albergs have since requested the municipality not send anything to the ALC. Unless the Albergs support sending a development application to the ALC, legally there is nothing more Saanich can offer them, when it comes to rezoning the property, the mayor said.

“They want us to be pressured into giving them a 16-lot rezoning. They figure the cattle will help them motivate the neighbours to tell us to do that. It’s against the law to guarantee the rezoning (without ALC approval first),” Leonard said.

Coun. Dean Murdock, the sole dissenting vote at the December meeting, said it’s frustrating that a cattle feed lot is still being considered, let alone being moved in this week.

“I don’t think anybody expected that kind of use of the property. Frankly, a cattle feed lot in a residential neighbourhood seems ridiculous, and I think it is an absurd use of that property,” he said. “Believe it or not though, this is an acceptable use (of the land).”

At the December meeting, Murdock said the zoning and farmland issues aren’t as “black and white” as they appear, and he still believes a happy compromise can be reached that satisfies neighbours, the property owners and the municipality.

“In the meantime, all we can hope is that the neighbours get some relief quickly, and having cattle on that lot is not a situation that goes on any number of days, never mind for the long-term,” Murdock said.

 

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Langford daycare to have space for 100 kids

The daycare will be at the upcoming Belmont Market Shopping Centre site

BC Ferries sees net earnings of $90M in second quarter

Net earnings are down as a result of lowering fares, adding more sailings to meet customer demand according to report

Report shows Saanich police officer retroactively fired over corruption, deceit, relationship with sex worker

Saanich Police had six of eight substantiated allegations against officers in Greater Victoria

Police, prosecutors tight-lipped about legislature investigation

Craig James and Gary Lenz were removed from the B.C. Legislature by police on Tuesday

Oak Bay police officer fired after hiring sex trade worker, watchdog says

Report by police watchdog shows Oak Bay police officers faced discipline for misconduct

From ocean to garden, Coast Salish canoe will continue to teach at a Langford high school

Raven Dancer made a final journey to Belmont Secondary School’s community garden

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Getzlaf lifts Ducks to 4-3 win over skidding Canucks

Vancouver now winless since Nov. 8

POLL: Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

The Christmas lights are twinkling and holiday music is playing in local… Continue reading

Pressure builds for B.C. to recognize physicians assistants

“We can make a difference and I think we’re being overlooked.”

Paramedic treated accused killer at the scene of Chemainus murder

Described strange behaviour of man with minor injuries

Senators urge Trump to expedite congressional vote on USMCA

The 12 Republican senators are warning of the dangers of getting the trade pact approved in 2019

Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections: Gould

Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections

Investigation into B.C. legislature officers began in January

RCMP brought in months after former prison administrator started

Most Read