Saanich called for a do-over on two public hearings after new information was brought forward for both applications.
During a meeting on Jan. 11 – in what Mayor Fred Haynes called a “very, very rare” move – council unanimously rescinded two public hearings that took place in 2020 and rescheduled them for later dates.
In both cases, “new information came up” so subsequent public hearings were required, Haynes told Black Press Media on Jan. 12.
The first rescinded public hearing addressed a rezoning application to accommodate a subdivision at 1899 Townley Street. Per a memo to council from Saanich’s manager of legislative services, Angila Bains, following the initial public hearing on Nov. 17, 2020 council resolved to permit secondary suites on the two subdivided lots. However, Bains said a new public hearing was required to allow stakeholders to weigh in on the possibility of allowing secondary suites.
Council rescinded the motions passed at the original public hearing and rescheduled a new one for the evening of Jan. 12 where the motions were again approved.
The second public hearing addressed a rezoning application to construct of a four-story, 97-unit seniors’ housing complex at 3200 Linwood Ave. The original public hearing was held June 16, 2020 and at the time, council approved the development variance requests pending a covenant that the units be maintained as affordable rentals in perpetuity.
However, per a memo from Sharon Froud, Saanich’s deputy legislative manager, further discussions with the applicant, BC Housing, made it clear that the plan was for the covenant and housing agreement to be in place for a certain number of years rather than in perpetuity. The applicant also explained that units owned by the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation would be exempt from the requirements regarding rentals and affordability.
Froud told council that the new information was deemed “significant enough to warrant a second public hearing,” and council agreed unanimously. The rescheduled public hearing is set to take place on Feb. 2.