At times on Monday night, the follow-up discussion on Gordon Head resident David Poje’s presentation to Saanich council was more about bureaucratic process than it was about Poje’s actual goal, to have Saanich review the parking ban on Glendenning Road.
Poje got his wish. Saanich council voted to refer the matter to an upcoming committee of the whole.
Poje’s argument is that the parking ban limits visitors to the Glendenning Road entrance to Mount Douglas Park, which happens to have the park’s flattest, most accessible entrance and walking trails.
However, the decision didn’t come without an impromptu debate about exactly how the new delegation process is working, or how it should work.
The delegation opportunity was brought in earlier this year by council to let public groups address council. However, on Monday Coun. Colin Plant forwarded a motion for staff to prepare a report on the status of the Glendenning parking ban immediately after Poje was finished.
That was eventually voted down, with only Coun. Fred Haynes and Mayor Richard Atwell in support.
“We had taken the view that presentations were to present info to council for pursuing at a later date,” said Coun. Vic Derman. “What we seem to be skirting into is to make decisions after presentations. Otherwise I had no great issue with studying parking at Mount Doug.”
Monday night was a unique set of circumstances, as Plant had already visited the site where, earlier in the summer, Saanich outfitted the entirety of the Glendenning Road shoulders with no-parking signs, or “ironmen,” as Poje calls them.
One resident of the street, Earl Hannan, spoke after having waited until 11 p.m., about three hours after council referred the issue to a future committee of the whole.
Hannan said he only wished to ensure the Saanich Fire Department is carefully included in any consultation for the parking ban as he is concerned of fire dangers (particularly after the exceptionally long dry season of 2015).
Traditionally, if the public wanted something on the council agenda, they needed the mayor or a councillor to add it.
There was a similar precedent set by 11-year-old Jillian McCue earlier this year. In that situation, McCue presented a case for backyard goats during the public delegation period and council subsequently motioned for, and approved, that McCue present to the Saanich advisory committees.
Another Gordon Head resident, Livinia Rojas, was stunned when council didn’t respond to her delegation presentation, a proposition that Saanich fund a pilot project to plant deer-friendly, native species in Mount Douglas. It would attract deer into the park, and away from Gordon Head gardens and roads, but no members asked any questions and no motions were forwarded.