Saanich councillor and Capital Regional District director Vic Derman expressed concerns about recent decisions made by Central Saanich council to the CRD board last week.
Derman made a motion to the Capital Regional District to request staff to bring forward reports on several projects in Central Saanich which he said can be considered to be inconsistent with the Regional Growth Strategy and the municipality’s context statement.
The projects include the Vantreight development, the Peninsula Co-op’s proposed grocery store, the Senanus waterline, a subdivision on McPhail Road, the proposed rezoning of Woodwynn Farms and the proposed Northwest quadrant water service area.
In his rationale, Durman stated the “action of Central Saanich municipality have threatened the integrity of the Regional Growth Strategy and its amending process.”
Central Saanich councillor Ron Kubek called Derman’s motion “ill-advised” and wrote to the CRD board outlining his concerns.
“There’s no legitimate basis for Derman’s declaration and accusation that Central Saanich’s thorough decision making process and official actions are inconsistent with the RGS and context statement. His statement that ‘it can be considered’ assumes the truth of something he wants to be able to prove, but can’t and he’s basing his beliefs on incorrect information,” said Kubek.
“Vic’s got a certain agenda of his own and he’s persuaded the CRD board to go along with it,” said Central Saanich Mayor Jack Mar. “Until the CRD investigates it and finds anything wrong, what are we supposed to do?
“We have a right to do these things and for the CRD to step in and say we’re doing something wrong — I don’t think so,” Mar added.
Kubek pointed out that the Vantreight decision was upheld in BC Supreme court, although a Central Saanich ratepayers group has appealed that decision.
He also pointed out that the Senanus waterline was approved by the CRD, and that council is not in favour of rezoning Woodwynn Farms. Kubek also said, “it is unjustifiable that Mr. Derman would be opposed to an area that is one-twelfth of the municipality getting potable drinking water and fire protection. The other eleven-twelfths of the district has municipal water, yet you don’t see condominiums, townhouses and such on Glidden, Martindale, Island View and other areas. We thought that it was good to look at how we could provide a steady supply of municipal water for drinking and fire protection. There is no legitimate basis for Mr. Derman’s desire to deny any of the residents of Central Saanich safe drinking water.”
“I think (Derman’s) got his facts mixed up,” said Mar. “Vantreight, the waterline, the Northwest quadrant … Woodwynn Farms we turned down in a seven to nothing vote — what does he want us to do, give them commercial zoning?”
Mar said allowing the Senanus waterline included an amendment to Central Saanich’s Official Community Plan. “It was sent to the CRD in 2009 and they passed council’s recommendation with no debate — now Derman’s jumping up and down talking about the waterline? He was there when it passed and there was no discussion at all,” said Mar.
“When we make decisions in Central Saanich we are aware that 75 per cent of our land is not available for growth,” said Kubek. “We make decisions very carefully and I find it repugnant that the CRD director would take such a position with only partial information. It is improper for the CRD director to wield undue influence over elected municipal officials in other districts based on his personal opinions alone. He was not elected in Central Saanich as were no other on the CRD board other than the mayor.”
Several residents who say the council is not acting in accordance with the OCP and RGS spoke in favour of the review and Derman’s motion was passed by the board.