Logging has commenced on parcels of the 12-hectare Watkiss Way property that sits opposite Victoria General Hospital.

View Royal monitoring Watkiss logging

Logging on a Saanich property bordering View Royal raises a number of concerns for West Shore residents

Katherine Engqvist and Travis Paterson/ News Gazette staff

West Shore residents are voicing concern over clearcut logging being done on a Watkiss Way property bordering View Royal.

“It has far more effect on View Royal residents,” said Mayor David Screech, noting that town residents are seeing an impact on their skyline and neighbourhoods. “Unfortunately, it’s not within our jurisdiction.”

In October, Saanich issued a permit to remove upwards of 4,900 trees on a 12-hectare parcel of private land along Watkiss Way, directly north of Victoria General Hospital, with a portion bordering a wetland in View Royal.

“It would have been a courtesy to at least discuss it with us before it started,” Screech said, adding that transporting the logs off the property violates a View Royal bylaw relating to heavy truck traffic, but now their hands are tied.

Nonetheless, he said, View Royal is monitoring the project. “At the beginning, we wanted to make sure it was being done properly.”

With regard to the wetlands, Screech’s understanding is that all of the proper setbacks will be observed. That said, he doesn’t see much point in trying to pause the project.

“At this point, you wonder if the damage is already done,” he said. “The owner has no intention of stopping. To me, it’s a done deal.”

Property owner Allen Vandekerkhove, who also owns adjacent properties, said earlier this year he was open to selling or leasing the land to the Capital Regional District as a potential site for a wastewater treatment plant, but Saanich council twice voted down the proposal. He spent an estimated $100,000 on the project. After it was rejected he resolved to turn the land, included in B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve, into a hay farm.

Before Vandekerkhove bought the land, View Royal approached the District of Saanich with a partnership deal that would have seen the treed area near the wetlands turned into a park, Screech said. At that time, the Town supported the rezoning it would take to make that happen. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go far,” he said.

In 2013, advocate David Poje of Saanich suggested the District purchase the land as parkland, but that was turned down. Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff said at the time, “The land is in Saanich, but it would definitely be a park for View Royal. And more parkland creates more park to maintain, even if it is a natural park.”

In 2013 Saanich was also coming off recent purchases of Panama Flats ($2.4 million in cash and property) and Haro Woods ($1.48 million and 3.5 hectares of land).

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Number of adults living with parents has doubled since 1995

9 per cent of the adult population living with one or more parent

Victoria Guard Commander leads group of snowmen after ceremony cancelled

Lt.-Cmdr. Michael Irwin wasn’t going to let a bit of snow strip him of his duties

Beauty Day spreads ‘brightness’ at Our Place

Volunteer hairdressers, estheticians, even a tarot card reader took part in the Victoria event

Victoria saw more snowfall this month compared to other major cities

Victoria normally sees about 6 cm of snow in February

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read