Council Chambers were packed during the Jan. 20 meeting while council discussed the issue of unrelated occupancy limits. (Teale Phelps Bondaroff/Twitter)

Saanich sets date for unrelated occupancy public hearing

Hearing to take place at municipal hall on Saturday, March 28

A date has been set for the public hearing on unrelated occupancy limits in Saanich.

The issue of unrelated occupancy limits has been a controversial topic in the District since it was brought to council in early 2019.

Most recently, a council meeting at the end of January was dominated by discussions relating to the restrictions on unrelated occupants. After reviewing a staff report containing several options for moving forward, council voted to send the option of increasing the unrelated occupancy limit from four to six to a public hearing.

The hearing has been scheduled for Saturday, March 28 at 10 a.m. at the Saanich Municipal Hall.

READ ALSO: Public hearing will focus on number of unrelated occupants allowed in Saanich

READ ALSO: Saanich resident starts petition to oppose unrelated occupancy limit increase

In February, council agreed to host the hearing in the council chambers on a Saturday so more residents could attend. Webcasting equipment would be available and free parking could be accessed on-site. Council also decided to begin the meeting at 10 a.m. in anticipation of a large number of speakers.

Petitions were created to both support and oppose the bylaw change and many have already voiced their opinions on the controversial matter at various council meetings.

The hearing’s date is, however, a concern for Saanich senior Brian Green. In an email sent to Saanich council and Black Press Media on March 13, Green pointed out that with the ongoing COVID-19 situation in B.C., he feels it’s a risk to hold a hearing for the contentious issue at the end of March as many who wish to speak may opt not to attend for safety reasons.

“I will not be attending,” Green wrote to council. “I urge you to reconsider.”

According to a March 12 statement from the District, no municipal meetings, events or programs have been cancelled, nor have facilities been closed. The statement went on to explain that District staff will continue to monitor advice from reputable sources and communicate any changes to residents.

Black Press Media has reached out to the District for information about plans for rescheduling the hearing if necessary.

READ ALSO: Saanich homeowner creates petition to abolish unrelated occupancy limits

READ ALSO: Saanich business ‘unaltered’ amid COVID-19 concerns, council meetings to continue, mayor says

Residents are invited to submit correspondence on the matter of unrelated occupancy to council@saanich.ca. All correspondence submitted in response to the hearing will be part of the public record and must be received by no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, March 27.

Any questions can be directed to the Legislative Services Division at 250-475-5501 or by email to council@saanich.ca.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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