Alberg farm lands final approval

Rezoning ends family’s lengthy dispute with Saanich council

The Alberg family cattle farm and feedlot on Mount Douglas Cross Road is history.

After 10 years of back and forth with Saanich and council, a 16-lot Alberg development proposal will go forward. Council unanimously passed the rezoning application to allow smaller lot sizes on the 1.6-hectare property on Monday.

It’s the final “piece of the puzzle,” said Don Alberg, who spoke for his brother Gordon Alberg, sister Florence Davis, and their respective families.

“In the end, the plan is virtually the same as it was in 2012. Council, for whatever reasons, believe the proposal is now worthy of endorsement, we always believed it was.”

The property was recently relieved of its Agricultural Land Reserve status. It was also removed from Saanich’s Environmental Development Permit Area atlas, escaping the bylaw that’s since become publicly contested.

Alberg credited the new faces on council for bringing the development proposal for 1516 Mount Doug X Rd. back to the table in 2015, ending a process that began 10 years ago.

Coun. Fred Haynes asked council to reconsider the proposal, which hinged on the farm’s removal from the ALR, in May. That ended a stalemate, one of many since 2006. The difference being that since 2013, the Albergs have used the land as a cattle feedlot.

The Alberg siblings grew up on the farm, where mom Vera was known for having cattle previously. Since the 1980s, the land was marked for residential development and to be removed from the ALR by the local area plan.

However, controversy grew as former mayor Frank Leonard and council refused to permit rezoning and approval of a development proposal until the land was removed from the ALR. But the Albergs believed both could be done simultaneously, ensuring Saanich (who they didn’t trust), would indeed approve the development, and they wouldn’t be left with a lot they could neither farm nor develop.

There was also threats from Leonard to refuse a tree removal permit in 2014, despite ALR rules permitting tree removal for farm use.

In the end, the councils were well intentioned but it was the wrong place to do it, Alberg said.

“Saving farmland is paramount to me. I’m a farmer myself, I have a real appreciation for the preservation of good productive land,” he said. “That just happened to be a place not well located for that exercise. The biologist report said it was incapable of supporting any kind of soil-bound agriculture.”

As for the timeline moving ahead, Alberg says the family is uncertain just when construction could begin.

“Whether we partner with [a developer] or sell it, we don’t know. When we started this we were 10 years younger and none of us were collecting old age pension. Now I’m 70 and I’m the youngest.”

 

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Metchosin bird card project finds its wings

On display at Metchosin ArtPod from July 10 to 12

UVic research team creating virus-resistant washbasins for post-pandemic world

Civil engineer Rishi Gupta hopes basins will be installed in public spaces

Walk for Peace takes a virtual turn for Victoria Hospice

Residents can still register for Gordy Dodd’s 11th annual fundraiser

United Way Greater Victoria launches Hi Neighbour program in Esquimalt

Feedback sought from residents about funding for micro community projects

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read