With the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan in the books, Saanich’s community planners will now turn their focus on the next big project – updating the District’s long overdue local area plans.
The SVAP was ratified for bylaw amendments at Monday’s council.
“It’s our intention [next] to update Saanich’s LAPs,” said Cam Scott, Saanich manager of community planning. “We’ll be going to council with a report, hopefully in June, and it will be up to council to give direction on a program to do all 12 local area plan updates.”
Most of the LAPs are from the ‘90s, some are even older.
It’s been a long road for Saanich Planning, which originally brought the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan to council in June 2014. Council was supportive but the plan’s 30-year timeline prompted council to ask for an immediate option.
Earlier this year SVAP’s $12.5 million short-term mobility option was adopted. It will add (mostly) separated cycling lanes and improved sidewalks while temporarily narrowing a portion of the busy corridor from four lanes of automobile traffic down to two lanes (plus a third turning lane) between Broadmead/Kisber avenues (south) and Garnet Road (north).
Once that was voted for (only Mayor Richard Atwell voted against it), it was smooth sailing for the SVAP in its entirety.
Now Saanich will try to bring an improved safety and community presence to an even bigger puzzle, the Uptown Douglas Corridor action plan. Scott is also the lead on the UDC, which is soon to be drafted into a first copy after a year of public consultation. But the UDC, and the SVAP, are action plans that work in concert with local area plans, and do not replace local area plans.
And if there is a theme that resonates among the various cries from the Saanich community, it’s to update the LAPs.
More than 30 people showed up to Monday night’s council to support Colin Millard of the Sunnymede subdivision, who is a spokesperson for the newly created Cordova Bay Village Vision Group.
Millard and company believe the sheer amount of developments applications coming into Cordova Bay Village right now need to be considered relative to one another and not one-at-a-time.
“The lack of clarity is there being no overall plan, with the piecemeal approach ahead we could die by 1,000 cuts,” Millard said. “Any development in the village will set a precedent and shape the field for the community for generations to come.”
The Cordova Bay LAP is from 1998. The developments are quite significant for that area, he added, with as many as 532 new household units between the proposed Aragon development on the old Trio quarry, the four-storey Doumac condo and a redesigned residential-commericial Cordova Bay Plaza.
When Scott does bring a report to council it will be challenging for the councillors to prioritize which LAPs go next.
Besides Cordova Bay, there are plenty of feet out there, itching to walk through a redesigned neighbourhood. Recently the Mount Tolmie and Camosun community associations partnered to create a draft Shelbourne LAP, another LAP that dates back to the ‘90s.
“… Large areas of our community are still not covered by an updated plan to guide land use,” said Caleb Horn. “We’re hoping that a Local Area Plan in the future will help in the areas not covered by the SVAP, and we’re working on the Mount Tolmie – Camosun Community Plan as a potential first step.”
The Shelbourne LAP is one of the few to cover more than one community association. Scott said it was the actually a community desire to look at the Shelbourne corridor “in a comprehensive manner” that became the SVAP, which also includes a section of the land in the Gordon Head Residents Association. The Shelbourne corridor had previously been looked at in portions, Scott said.