Mark and Cindy Sherman stand near the lot, a portion of which Pacific Soccer Academy plans to use for an all-weather soccer field. Some 150 community garden plots are also part of the proposal. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Mark and Cindy Sherman stand near the lot, a portion of which Pacific Soccer Academy plans to use for an all-weather soccer field. Some 150 community garden plots are also part of the proposal. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Opponents of proposed soccer pitch in Central Saanich say it undermines agriculture

Residents feel the proposal would violate the Official Community Plan

The sponsors of a petition opposing plans for a soccer field on Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) land in Central Saanich said the proposal would violate one of, if not the primary goal of that community’s Official Community Plan – the preservation of agriculture.

Stacy and Mark Sherman’s petition opposing plans by Pacific Soccer Academy FC (PACE FC) to build an all-weather soccer field on ALR land next to their home on Tomlinson Road continues to gather signatures, having reached 744 names as of Tuesday afternoon.

“The Official Community Plan says that this type of rural environment and agricultural environment is the priority to preserve and we don’t think that the development preserves that,” said Mark Sherman.

Jenn Stevens, a board member with PACE FC, told the Peninsula News Review last week that the club hopes to build an all-weather soccer field near the Saanich Fairgrounds on a 10-acre property at 7480 Tomlinson Rd. recently purchased by Harj Nandhra, the club’s long-time community coach. The plan, with a hope of finishing in spring or summer of 2021, also calls for 150 community garden plots, each of 1,000 square feet.

RELATED: Soccer club pitches turf field for ALR land in Central Saanich

But the Shermans, who have emerged as the public faces for some 30 people living in the neighbourhood, said the proposal is not appropriate for the area, pointing to the long history of agricultural use on the lot.

“It has always been a viable piece of land and it has been in the ALR since its inception in 1972,” said Stacy. “And used for agriculture ever since then and before then too,” added Mark.

His concerns include the health of humans and the environment with worry of chemicals leaching off a standard all-weather turf field and changes to the rural character of the area, with Mark predicting it would “transform” the area if approved, drawing additional traffic and creating light pollution.

Approval, for now, appears a long way off. The proposed all-weather field would require approval from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) as non-farm use. No application has come forward so far and likely won’t come forward for some time in the absence of a site plan by the club.

Any application, if it were to come forward, would also undergo extensive reviews by municipal staff as well as the ALC.

The Shermans acknowledge these aspects, while also remaining cautious in questioning the club’s communication so far.

“It’s putting the cart before the horse,” said Mark. “There is just a lot of enthusiasm and looking for support in the soccer community, without talking to the community, without talking to council, without talking to the ALC, without having town halls.”

The Shermans stress that their opposition does not target any specific person or the idea of youth-sports itself.

“This has to do with ALR land. It has been [ALR land] since its inception. It’s [zoned for A1], it has been heavily used and supporting the local economy, who live here. It’s in direct support of our community plan,” Mark said.

Stevens pointed to the community gardens that would be part of the plan and said the club plans to address public concerns.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

BC Transit is investigating a ‘rapid bus’ action plan for Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Transit launches investigation after passenger fall from upper deck

A passenger went to hospital after a fall from the upper deck

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read