Plans for a library near the Panorama Recreation Centre received a boost after the Agricultural Land Commission approved North Saanich’s application to exclude 6.4 hectares (almost 16 acres) from the ALR. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Plans for a library near the Panorama Recreation Centre received a boost after the Agricultural Land Commission approved North Saanich’s application to exclude 6.4 hectares (almost 16 acres) from the ALR. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Land exclusion boosts plans for library in North Saanich

ALC says proposed location for new library unsuitable for agriculture

A provincial body has given plans for a new library in North Saanich near the Panorama Recreation Centre a major boost.

The Agricultural Land Commission has approved North Saanich’s application to exclude 6.4 hectares (almost 16 acres) from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The property slated for exclusion lies in the northwest corner of the lot containing the Panorama Recreation Centre. With the exclusion, North Saanich can now subdivide the smaller lot from its parent lot, thereby allowing the establishment of a library on a separate, transferable title of land.

“This is good news,” said Mayor Geoff Orr of the ALR’s decision.

RELATED: Public submissions show large opposition to library plans in North Saanich

RELATED:North Saanich residents to comment on library plans

The public heard Monday that the municipality will now explore the possibility of bringing a “community facility with Vancouver Island Regional Library service” to the location. Staff have previously signalled an openness toward other options.

Previous plans had identified the northwest corner of the current recreation centre as the preferred location for a new library, which according to staff “would complement the existing community facilities on site and would be accessible to residents of North Saanich, Sidney, and Central Saanich,” as per an earlier report.

The ALC had rejected non-farm use of the site for a library in April 2019. But if the commission said no then, it also signalled that it could support an exclusion application, now a fait accompli.

The ALC said in its decision that the property “is not suitable for agricultural use due to its cumulative historical uses (45 years) and site coverage for community recreational use (buildings and parking lots).” Accordingly, there “is no agricultural rationale for the retention of the property in the ALR.”

A public hearing held in the summer revealed large public opposition (but also some support) for a new library, with critics expressing concern about the impact on the ALR among other points.

RELATED: North Saanich submits ALR exclusion despite large opposition

But the ALC appeared to reject that argument. The commission said in its ruling that “the majority of correspondence expressed concern regarding losing green space rather than agricultural land,” adding that “concerns regarding green space and planned development of the (property) would be more appropriately addressed by the (municipality).”

Council, including Coun. Brett Smyth who had previously opposed the exclusion application, voted to forward the ALC’s decision to staff with the subject now becoming part of council’s upcoming strategic planning session on Dec. 10 with the broader future of library services as shared with Sidney on the agenda.

While Smyth acknowledged his previous opposition, he said there is no further need for positioning.

“The residents will get a chance to weigh in on whatever might happen in the future,” he said.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Hot rods, rad rods, muscle and sports cars spanning the decades made their way in a parade from North Saanich to Victoria on June 19. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Classic cars cruise Saanich Peninsula in advance of Father’s Day

Retirement home residents from North Saanich to Victoria treated to a spectacle of hot rides

A bathtub kitchen garden is part of the lineup for this year’s Teeny Tiny Garden Tour to benefit Victoria Hospice. (Screenshot/Teeny Tiny Garden Tour)
Virtual garden tour for Victoria Hospice features trio of back yards

Online tour is free; calendar purchase and donation options raise money for the cause

Al Kohut, owner of the new photographers GALLERY, checks out Looking Back by David Bradt. The photo printed on canvas is among 50 images featured in the Birds on the Wild Side exhibition showing until July 3. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Photo gallery in Sidney plucks out top bird photos

Birds on the Wild Side show running at the new photographers GALLERY until July 3

The Town of Sidney supports efforts to rename Reay Creek to KELSET, its traditional SENCOTEN name. (Black Press Media file photo)
Town of Sidney signs off on Reay Creek name change to KELSET

Name change does not affect surrounding parkland, but public supports doing so

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read