Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor says efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and fight climate change appear on the top of agenda for Central Saanich in 2020. (Black Press Media Files/Submitted)

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor says efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and fight climate change appear on the top of agenda for Central Saanich in 2020. (Black Press Media Files/Submitted)

Central Saanich Mayor says housing and climate change are top priorities heading into 2020

Ryan Windsor says community has heard no concerns over Peninsula’s first retail cannabis outlet

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor said efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and fight climate change appear on the top of agenda for Central Saanich in 2020.

“Where do workers live, how do people afford housing, what kind of housing ultimately gets build will continue to be issues because of cost of living is a factor,” he said in a year-end-interview with the Peninsula News Review. “It affects people directly and the biggest expense generally is housing. I don’t expect that to change as a focus area in 2020.”

Windsor said current projections show the number of below-market housing units will rise to 186 from 80 units in the coming two years.

Overall, Windsor expects housing to be a priority in 2020, a point brought up earlier in December, when council considered a staff report that projects a housing shortfall of about 375 dwelling units by 2036 under the current Official Community Plan policies and land use bylaw regulations. The report projects that Central Saanich will grow at a rate of close to one per cent, with rental vacancies remaining persistently low at 0.6 per cent. The report notes among other points that housing affordability has increasingly become a challenge as the market continues to drive prices upward.

To this end, council has tasked staff to bring forward amendments to the Official Community Plan designed to encourage more infilling following public consultations earlier in 2019.

RELATED: Central Saanich seeks input on housing policy

These changes will in turn inform a larger update of the Official Community Plan that will start in 2020 and continue into 2021 with a total cost of $150,000.

“It’s not a total rewrite, but it is also not a light touch,” said Windsor. “It is examining things thoroughly in the current document and bringing them into alignment with the reality of increased housing prices. Those were less of a factor in 2008 [during the last update]. We have had an increase of 65 per cent in property values in that time.”

Windsor said the municipality will also continue to move forward with various measures to fight climate change. They include steps to replace the municipality’s vehicle fleet with electric vehicles.

“They are some exciting things going on there [in the market for the electric vehicles] that will make it possible for us to transition some more of our vehicles in the next couple of years,” he said.

Looking at the bigger picture, Windsor said most of the community is reasonably well-protected from the effects of climate change. Some of that is geography, some of that is climate, he said. “In terms of infrastructure, we are updating our infrastructure to make sure it is resilient,” he said.

Overall, the District continues to identify areas of concern and priority within its climate action plan, said Windsor, who noted later that Central Saanich has one of the largest solar installations on Vancouver Island,

RELATED: Central Saanich Fire Dept. now sun powered – good for budget and environment

He also sounded optimistic about the timeline for the proposed $44-million flyover bypass at the intersection of Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road.

Current projections call for ground-breaking in 2021 with construction completed in 2023, he said.

RELATED: Proposal for Brentwood Bay pot shop still on the table

Central Saanich also heads into 2020 as the first community on the Saanich Peninsula with a recreational cannabis retail outlet after council had approved a store in May 2019 in the 6700-block of Veyaness Road on the basis of a temporary licence which Windsor says will give the municipality some leeway in the future. Buds Cannabis opened its doors on Dec. 1 and so far Windsor has heard no concerns.

“To date, there has been nothing of note in the community that I have heard about it,” said Windsor. “Some people do not like them, other people think they are good,” he said. “That mixed opinion still exists, but this one has created no issues.”

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

Volunteer Anette Akouri is part of a vital service that connects clients to help them be less vulernable. (Saanich Volunteer Services Society)
Saanich volunteers up the friendship calls, grocery deliveries during pandemic

Saanich Volunteer Services Society helping vulnerable residents stay happy, healthy

The public will start to weigh in next month on the possible future uses of Oak Bay Lodge. In the meantime, a request to the province by the City of Victoria to intervene and allow use of at least a portion of the closed facility as temporary shelter space awaits an answer. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay Lodge redevelopment planning continues, request for temporary use awaits answer

Public consultation on future of CRD-owned site begins next month

Saanich golfer and top B.C. junior and juvenile player Willy Bishop was named to the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Jenny Bishop)
Saanich student to tee-off with national golf team

Willy Bishop, 16, named to Canadian National Junior Golf Squad in 2021

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read