There is a local area plan for each of the 12 neighborhoods in Saanich. (District of Saanich)

Saanich council pauses updates to local area plans

Council will focus on housing priorities/policies to increase affordability, supply and diversity

Saanich council resolved to pause work on updating local area plans (LAPs) in the district during a council meeting Monday night.

The topic created some disruptions during the meeting as Coun. Nathalie Chambers spoke passionately against the pause, and meeting chair Coun. Zac de Vries tried to rein in interruptions.

READ MORE: Saanich Talks event kicks off Local Area Plan updates

“I think the result of pausing the LAPs as per the director of planning’s estimate for three years will be devastating for Saanich,” Chambers said. “Despite the fact interim measures were included in the strategic plan, they were already voted down. So there will be no interim measures in sensitive ecosystems and no environmental permits in new developments for three years in Saanich.”

Coun. de Vries said the Cadboro Bay and Cordova Bay local area plans will be completed as planned, but further updates to LAPs are on hold so council can focus planning resources on priorities and policies to increase the supply, diversity and affordability of housing in Saanich.

“Clearly our current growth model and policies have not resulted in the housing outcomes that our community wants. Housing affordability is a top issue for most Saanich residents,” de Vries said. “We have paused LAPs, which represents the status quo, in order to retool. A housing needs assessment and housing strategy in particular will expand our understanding of how housing works and how we can achieve the affordability and attainability that our residents need.”

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said the pause will be for about two years. “During that time, all locals will be engaged in ground-up discussions about housing,” Haynes said. The District will then return to updating the LAPs.

Haynes said the council has acknowledged there is a housing crisis in the District, and the pause is intended to help council respond to the crisis. “If there is a crisis, we need to know how to address it, otherwise we’re ignoring the crisis,” Haynes said. He said the council is approaching housing policy in a similar way to its approach to lowering residential speed limits: as a Saanich-wide push rather than “piecemeal”.

Saanich resident Vernon Lord said that pausing the LAPs “shows council’s disrespect for the process that previous council, residents and community associations have developed and agreed to.” He also noted Haynes stated on his campaign flyer for the 2018 municipal election that he would “ensure staff and council have resources to update the local area plans during the coming term.”

“Now we are talking about a pause. A pause that will allow development in Saanich to proceed on a global Saanich view with one goal; density and infill with limited community input,” Lord said.

READ ALSO: Saanich’s Cadboro Bay neighbourhood gets ready for its close up

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow @yrlocaljourno

District of SaanichHousingSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cyclists see potential and pitfalls in Sooke infrastructure

Getting from Sooke Road to Galloping Goose Trail a challenge for bike riders

Province buys Paul’s Motor Inn to house Victoria’s homeless population

Inn is the second hotel the province has purchased to support vulnerable community

Firefighters called for technical rescue at Sooke Potholes

Woman breaks her leg while walking along riverbed

Sidney blocks off parking spaces to create more sidewalk

Additional measures to create more outdoor space for restaurants and cafe on way

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read