Consensus reached in Gordon Head cattle saga

Saanich council agrees to remove property from ALR

Saanich council is supporting the Alberg family's request to remove their Mount Douglas Cross Road property from the ALR.

The Gordon Head cattle saga is coming to an end as Saanich council unanimously agreed to forward the property at 1516 Mount Douglas Cross Road for removal from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Assuming the Agricultural Land Commission does in fact remove it, it’s a green light for the Alberg family to proceed with a 16-house development on the panhandle lot they’ve owned since 1945.

The family began cattle farming on the land after a development proposal for the property reached a stalemate over concerns about Saanich using an unwritten policy, and ALR removal.

“It’s definitely a big relief to the neighbourhood, council and to the family. I think everybody is winners and I look forward to moving on,” said Don Alberg.

None of the cattle farming family live on the property though siblings Don, Gordon and Florence grew up there. An employee-tenant resides at the house of the address.

The family moved the cattle off of the property in June, which had acted as a feedlot the past two years.

Last week’s hearing drew 1.5 hours worth of arguments for and against the proposal from residents, a repeat of the previous day’s council item regarding a potential sewage treatment site on Watkiss Way.

But in the end, it’s not an argument that the land should remain in the ALR, rather, that this is a site which should have been zoned for residential development 30 years ago, said Coun. Fred Haynes.

“There is a key argument that all land should be looked at for food production, but in this case, the biologist report essentially said it is not arable for plant-based agriculture, for berry bushes or fruit trees. [If it were], it would be a different story.”

Haynes brought up the point that the Albergs did apply to have chickens on the property, which would have had much less of a neighbourhood impact than cattle, but council voted against it.

“This decision is consistent with our OCP, it is a piece of land that should have come out of the ALR 30 years ago,” said Haynes, who brought the Alberg matter back to council earlier this year.

“It became an island surrounded by development,” he said.

Binding in the process are that the new 16-house project will be built to a  LEED gold standard, and the creation of seven Garry oak covenants. To compensate for lost Garry oaks due to construction, about 70 Garry oak trees will be added, maintaining the Garry oak canopy.

A strata road will be built to access the homes, which will also open up access to two more potential lots at the back of the property, bringing a total of 18 new houses in Saanich. None of the homes will be permitted a secondary suite.

 

Beef sales at the property will end, though Don Alberg will continue to sell meat from his Qualicum Beach farm.

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria City Council approves inclusionary housing policy

After years of back and forth, the policy will be ratified in two weeks

Filipino Heritage Month event takes over Centennial Square

Dancing, music and food highlight Mabuhay Day celebration in Victoria

West Shore residents report finding anti-SOGI 123 flyers in mailboxes

SD62 trustee Ravi Parmar says the flyers are ‘garbage’

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read