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

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

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

June Saxe, 2, enjoys the sunny shoreline at Whiffin Spit with her dad on March 5. The family had come out from Victoria for a day in the sunshine. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Warm weather brings Sooke’s Whiffin Spit to life

Visitors, locals enjoy warm weather at coastal viewpoint

Funding requests for the 2021 budget year, submitted by the Administration and Finance Committee, was approved by Langford council at the Feb. 16 meeting. (Black Press Media file photo)
Food awareness, seniors among Langford’s approved 2021 funding requests

New and returning community organizations to receive financial boost

Underground utility installations are underway on Latoria Boulevard at Latoria Road near Royal Bay Secondary and on Metchosin Road south of Latoria Boulevard. (City of Colwood image)
Road work hinders Colwood drivers in Royal Bay

Underground utility installation could run most of March

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read