At the regular council meeting on Nov. 6, Central Saanich council discussed affordable housing, increased dog license fees and more.
District staff have now been directed to identify any lands suitable for affordable housing, due to a request from the CRD. In a follow-up interview, Mayor Ryan Windsor said that his understanding of the request was that it was flexible enough to include land that could be further developed, instead of only including undeveloped land. However, one challenge he identified was that a significant portion of Central Saanich falls within the Agricultural Land Reserve, which typically rules out housing development.
Residents concerned about the traffic at Stelly’s Cross Rd. and West Saanich Road will have to wait a little longer before seeing any improvements. Council found out that the road was not under their jurisdiction, but rather under provincial control because it is designated as an alternative route to the Pat Bay in case it becomes clogged or impassable (West Saanich Rd. is still sometimes known as Highway 17A). In the meantime, the council has flagged it with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure as well as the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General as an area of concern within the district.
Dog license fees are going up after several years of stagnation. The cost of licensing a spayed or neutered pet is rising to $30, and licensing a non-spayed or neutered animal is rising to $40, a $10 increase in both cases.
“Probably would have been better if we’d adjusted them up more slowly over the years we didn’t,” said Windsor. “It probably would have been a little easier than what happened [on Monday night].”
Advisory committee meetings are no longer required to be recorded, a motion introduced by Windsor. While meetings with elected officials will still be filmed, committees comprised of unelected volunteers will no longer be filmed. The Advisory Planning Commission, the Agricultural Advisory Committee, the Economic Development Advisory Committee and the Healthy Watersheds Committee are affected. They will still be recorded through meeting minutes, but those only record decisions and action items, not any discussions that take place.
According to the Central Saanich video archive, the one and only recorded meeting of any volunteer advisory committee was on Aug. 21, 2014 for a Healthy Watershed and Agricultural Advisory Committee meeting.
“The public is welcome to attend, but the volunteer committees are not decision makers. They’re simply a sounding board, so it was felt that it’s not the best place for recording to take place,” said Windsor.