Agriculture will be at the forefront when Saanich council holds an upcoming joint session with Central Saanich council.
The neighbouring Saaniches share a rural border and will focus on a series of topics, such as storm water management, deposit of fill, soil conservation and wildlife management (deer, geese, etc.), among other items.
“It is critical that we work together with our neighbouring farming community of Central Saanich to develop policies to ensure that there is healthy food available to all residents in Greater Victoria now and in the future,” said Coun. Susan Brice.
It was Brice who co-ordinated the joint council idea with Central Saanich Coun. Niall Paltiel. The respective municipal staffs are working out the date of the meeting.
Agriculturally speaking, there is a demand to encourage new farmers and find ways to support keeping them involved in farming, as well as the preservation of farms and farmland, and to support local food production so that it can meet regional needs, Brice added.
“We will hold a formal council session just in case we want to make any recommendations,” she said.
“Agricultural land is a key component of Saanich [and] the increasing cost of farmland is a concern,” Coun. Judy Brownoff said.
Coun. Fred Haynes suggested it could be a chance to visit the topic of tree removal in the Agricultural Land Reserve, which has come to light following the removal of nearly 5,000 trees on Watkiss Way recently (to farm hay).
“We envisioned bringing the Peninsula area and agriculture commission into the joint council discussion too,” Brice said.
“Farmland does not know municipal boundaries,” Paltiel said. “It is our job as local representatives to roll up our sleeves and work together on projects that will benefit the agriculture industry, the local watershed and food security in Greater Victoria.”
In the past, Saanich council has held joint meetings with Victoria council regarding several issues, including the Douglas corridor, which resulted in a joint priority to support Douglas’ new bus priority lanes.
The date and time of the joint meeting of Central Saanich and Saanich councils will be advertised when the details have been determined by the two administrations.