Albergs to remove cattle in act of ‘good faith’

The Alberg family is banking on Saanich Council to approve a 16-lot development proposal which came close in 2011

After using their farm as a controversial urban cattle feed lot the past two years, the Alberg family has declared they will withdraw the cows on Thursday, June 4.

The Alberg siblings Florence, Gordon and Don, who grew up on the property, forwarded a letter on Thursday night (May 28) to Mayor Richard Atwell, Saanich CAO Andy Laidlaw, members of Saanich Council and others, stating the removal of the cattle.

“We hope this will be seen as an act of good faith, while we wait and see what Saanich Council does with our subdivision proposal. It is the same proposal approved by Saanich Planning in 2011 which was rejected by Council standing on ALR,” the letter said.

The letter comes 17 days after new Saanich Coun. Fred Haynes brought the issue back to Council, which then voted to move forward with a one-time solution. It breaks a stalemate that went on for years. As of September 2014, neither party was willing to budge.

Zoning approval for the property at 1516 Mount Douglas Cross Rd. has been in a tug-of-war for nearly 10 years with Saanich Council, including a scuffle over its removal from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The family’s 16-lot plan was turned down by Saanich council in 2011, followed by a 12-lot plan voted down in 2012. The disappointment drove the Albergs to use the property as a feedlot, they claimed.

The Albergs are also inviting the neighbourhood to meet the developer at an open house at the Alberg Farm on Sunday, June 7 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Copy of the letter, unedited:

Dear Friends and Neighbours of the Mount Douglas Community: After a family meeting and discussion with people in the neighbourhood, we have decided to remove all cattle on our property, effective Thursday June 4th.

We hope this will be seen as an act of good faith, while we wait and see what Saanich Council does with our subdivision proposal. It is the same proposal approved by Saanich Planning in 2011 which was rejected by Council standing on ALR. If Council rejects this again, uncertainty around our property will remain, and our family will have to consider the options available to us.

We have been told our proposal is among the most pleasing to be put before Saanich Council in quite some time, and it is something we are very proud of. As such we want to extend an invitation for you to have a short look at our proposal so you can understand what it is and how it may affect you.

Roger Tinney (of Tinney and Associates), who designed the subdivision, will be on hand to answer your questions. We will be serving finger food, so you won’t have to make dinner, and it will also be a chance to get together with the neighbours and enjoy each other’s company.

Thank you so much for you patience and support throughout this process and we look forward to seeing you on; Sunday June 7 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Sincerely, The Alberg Family Florence, Gordon, and Don.


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