Saanich council has approved the first step in securing new parking and portable classrooms for Prospect Lake Elementary School.
Council approved a motion to apply for non-farm use of land near the school, which falls under the protection of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), an independent tribunal dedicated to preserving and promoting farmland in the province.
A staff report details insufficient parking at the school and says during peak times, vehicles are parking along Prospect Lake Road and the asphalt sidewalk, creating unsafe conditions for students and motorists.
Mayor Fred Haynes said a parking lot would improve safety.
“This has been a multi-year project to improve the safety of the school,” he said. “There was lots of parking on the road. I’m really pleased to see this approach coming forward, which will allow parents to park safely off the street and free up the sidewalk that’s going to be put in place.”
Saanich council is seeking a designation that would keep the land in the ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) but allow a non-farming use. While schools typically don’t qualify for non-farm use, Prospect Lake Elementary was built prior to the introduction of the ALR, so school use is grandfathered. Any expansions, however, require ALC approval.
Coun. Judy Brownoff pointed out that the final decision is up to the ALC.
“I think its really important the ALR designation remains,” she said, noting that portions of both Rogers and Lochside elementary schools are on ALR land.