Municipal staff in Central Saanich say public feedback so far has identified three areas of priorities during OCP review: growth management; parks, trails and recreation access; and agriculture and food security. (Black Press Media File)

Municipal staff in Central Saanich say public feedback so far has identified three areas of priorities during OCP review: growth management; parks, trails and recreation access; and agriculture and food security. (Black Press Media File)

Central Saanich OCP survey identifies growth management as an early public priority

Central Saanich to hold virtual town hall March 25

As Central Saanich continues to gather public input in reviewing its Official Community Plan (OCP), municipal staff says public feedback so far has identified three areas of priorities: growth management; parks, trails and recreation access; and agriculture and food security.

These preliminary findings based on an ongoing survey have appeared as the municipality prepares to host a virtual town hall on March 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. A panel of experts will discuss key topics, such as agriculture and food systems, natural areas and biodiversity, transportation, and climate action, with staff and the consultants available for questions and discussion.

RELATED: Central Saanich pushes for more regional planning

Britt Burnham, Central Saanich’s manager of community services, said the OCP also considers Central Saanich’s character. “The district wants to identify the attributes and features that make up rural and small-town character in Central Saanich and establish a common definition,” she said. “This will help shape the vision, policies and guidelines in the OCP to effectively protect Central Saanich’s unique community character.”

Burnham said the community has so far identified Central Saanich’s natural beauty, including agricultural land, trees and waterlines, the quiet town atmosphere, as well as Centennial Park, Tod Inlet, the Prairie Inn and Old West Saanich School House as examples of important elements of the community’s character.

The survey is open until April 12.

Central Saanich’s OCP advisory committee meanwhile discussed whether the OCP should consider the four existing small neighbourhood nodes: West Keating; Turgoose; Island View/East Saanich; and the area at the base of Verdier Avenue, Moodyville. Not surprisingly, the part of the discussion focusing on Island View and East Saanich touched on plans for a ‘flyover’ overpass at the intersection of nearby Keating Cross Road and Highway 17.

RELATED: Flyover proposed for Central Saanich ‘safest option’ according to ministry

RELATED:Advocacy group calls for full interchange at Central Saanich’s Keating Cross Road

The committee also discussed important community services needed in Central Saanich, including environment (trails, parks, and recreation); climate action; supporting active agriculture; waste management; and working partners on supporting mental health and addiction services among others.

“I would just like to say how impressed I am with the thoughtful input that we are getting from members of the Official Community Plan advisory committee,” said Coun. Bob Thompson, who chairs the committee. “I think they are doing an excellent job.”

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