Saanich has a wonderful tradition of civic engagement in local government. Our Local Area Plans are a great example.
Local Area Plans provide policy to enable Saanich citizens to identify, protect and enhance features of their neighborhoods. Each of the 12 neighborhoods in Saanich has a Local Area Plan. In the past, citizen input has resulted in important environmental protection. To remain current, Local Area Plans are updated regularly.
In 2021, the District of Saanich paused Local Area Plans to focus on Centre, Corridor and Village planning – basically to concentrate on new housing development.
I know – this just sounds like routine administration. Local government planning. Business as usual. But it’s not business as usual.
I began hearing from residents in Saanich neighborhoods who feared council’s new planning focus would create changes in their communities that weren’t in line with Local Area Plans.
In addition, Saanich citizens have expressed their fears that council’s “pause” on updating Local Area Plans will continue indefinitely. These concerns are creating neighborhood disharmony. People are afraid that Saanich Council will use the new planning priority to run roughshod over the Local Ares Plans and the neighborhood-based priorities they represent.
I believe it is council’s fundamental duty to balance policy and strategic priorities with the will of the people. Saanich residents are feeling that the rug is being pulled out from under them. Something is wrong.
So, I made a motion in council to forward discussion about ending the pause on Local Area Plan updates to this September. I just didn’t want to see Local Area Plans get stuck in limbo indefinitely.
In fact, I’d like to see discussion on Local Area Plans begin as soon as possible. Our Local Area Plans represent a bond of trust between council and our residents.
I will respect that trust because I understand how important properly updated Local Area Plans are to democracy, accountability and harmony in Saanich.
Protect what you believe is important in your community.
Saanich is currently receiving public input regarding new land use policy in three areas:
- New housing forms in Neighbourhoods (through residential infill)
- Land uses along major roads/corridors
- Building complete, walkable communities