The former Royal Oak Golf Course. Travis Paterson/News Staff

The former Royal Oak Golf Course. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Letter: Regardless of ALR, Royal Oak Golf Course remains outside UCB

Urban Containment Boundary designed to protect from sprawl

Your article “Minister questions farm use for former golf course” (Sept. 7) is of concern to many residents, some living near the golf course, others more widespread.

As Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham remarks, this property, though in a lovely natural setting, is not well suited to productive farming. The crucial element your article omits is that most of the golf course lies outside the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB), long a cornerstone for sustainable planning.

See also: Views clash over removal of Royal Oak Golf Course from ALR

The UCB preserves rural Saanich, contains suburban sprawl and assures compact residential development, close to amenities, with good transportation options. For rural property outside the UCB, status in Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) has little importance for land use since ALR restrictions are nearly the same as those for rural Saanich lands.

A request to exclude the golf course (of which 23 acres of 27 acres are in ALR) from ALR adds confusion (why undertake the cost, bother and higher taxes if nothing is gained?) and raises a red flag.

What do the owners/developers want? To “tidy up” an inappropriate ALR designation? Or to come back to Saanich to say that the property, if excluded from ALR, should next be brought into UCB. Throwing the door open to a new wave of suburban sprawl.

Greg Holloway