District of North Saanich had hoped to install a library at the Panorama Rec Centre. (File photo)

North Saanich stumped after land board rejects new library bid

District questions if Agricultural Land Commission interpreting rules in a new way

The District of North Saanich was left surprised after its bid to construct a library on a piece of the Panorama Recreation Centre site was rejected by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).

In a ruling dated April 2, the ALC Executive Committee refused two April 6, 2018 applications submitted by North Saanich to: (1) Subdivide a 0.8 ha (2.0 ac) parcel, and (2) Conduct a Non-Farm Use activity (library) within the Agricultural Land Reserve on the subdivided parcel.

ALSO READ: Human Rights museum to restore Coast Salish artist’s Witness Blanket

Mayor Geoff Orr said the decision was unexpected and council needed to discuss whether this was an anomalous decision that should be appealed or if it was part of a new interpretation of the spirit of the rules by the ALC, necessitating a change in future strategy.

“The Agricultural Land Commission decision to refuse the North Saanich applications will initiate a reassessment of the proposal to construct a library on the Panorama Recreation Centre parcel,” said Orr. “District staff will take some time to review the Executive Committee decision internally and also consult with Vancouver Island Regional Library representatives, Panorama Recreation Centre staff, the municipalities of Central Saanich and Sidney, and Capital Regional District staff to determine the next steps.”

ALSO READ: New commemorative loonie marking progress for LGBTQ2+ rights draws mixed response

The extensive consultation is now needed to decide if a new library is viable on the proposed site or if alternatives should be explored, such as building one elsewhere or expanding other facilities outside North Saanich.

The ALC Executive Committee acknowledged that there is a long history of approvals having been granted for non-farm uses on the 6.4 ha (16.0 ac) site. They also stated that the two current district applications are “…consistent with the history of approvals on the property for non-farm uses,” but “…not consistent with its [ALC sic] purpose to preserve agricultural land or encourage farming on agricultural land…”

ALSO READ: French for the Future event to host 300 students in Victoria

The Panorama was only going to be sub-divided for the library and Orr says because the current proposal is now on hold, there are no further plans to develop the rec centre with other initiatives. Worryingly, he says if this decision is indicative of a new interpretation of the rules by the ALC, the Panorama might have difficulty being developed in the future.

Council are scheduled to meet May 6, but Orr says it is unclear whether the ALC’s decision will be discussed then or at a later meeting. From an administrative perspective, there is no rush as the District have a year to appeal the ruling.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

School strike: SD63 says grade 12 students ‘will not lose their graduation year’

Parents, students concerned about educational impact of CUPE 441 strike

Bright red salmon appear at Saanich’s Colquitz River fish fence

Local preschool group looks on in delight while volunteers work

Cineplex to show free holiday movies to support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Community Day will be on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m at select theatres

Parents plan second rally as CUPE 441 strike in SD63 stretches into third week

Parents have written to the provincial government asking them to step in

Monster Truck Chaos comes to Victoria, tickets on sale Friday

Monster Truck Chaos rumbles into Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre Jan. 25 and 26

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Woman airlifted with serious injuries after being struck by car in Nanaimo

Woman, hit in crosswalk, suffers life-threatening injuries; driver co-operating with police

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

Most Read