Panama Flats concept plan.

Panama Flats plan heads to Agricultural Land Commission

Council unanimously approves concept plan, which includes new trails and farmland, on Monday

Saanich’s Panama Flats is set to become the latest addition to B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve by the end of the year, if all goes as planned.

On Monday, council unanimously approved a submission to the Agricultural Land Commission to add the 14.5-hectare parcel to the ALR. Saanich purchased the land in 2011 for $2.4 million.

“The whole site is considerably bigger than that, as Panama Hill is already in the ALR,” said Mayor Frank Leonard. “With this parcel, the total farmland would increase to 23 hectares.”

Once approved, Leonard said the municipality will lease the farmable land after executing a concept redevelopment plan. That plan includes a system of trails, a floodplain, remediation of a portion of Bowker Creek and a protected area for birds and other wildlife.

“We wanted to make sure the area is protected for farmland as much as we possibly can,” Leonard said. “The ALR’s a great way to do that.”

The plan was mostly supported in letters to council, though some neighbours expressed concern for the well-being of frogs and other wildlife.

The ALR addition was also criticized by some members of the Residents Association of Strawberry Vale, Marigold and Glanford at Monday’s public hearing, as well as on social media.

Association president Charlaine Felker said she personally supports the Panama Flats plan, but some of her colleagues and surrounding neighbours believe the government is meddling too much by transferring the land.

Leonard said it would be hypocritical of council not to use the land for farming when it was purchased three years ago for that purpose.

“I think the (Agricultural) Land Commission is probably tickled pink to get this land proposal, so I think they’ll be turning this around pretty quickly,” he said. “Some of these proposals take two years, but we hope to hear back from them by the end of the year.”

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich councillor fears weed could crowd out food as greenhouses convert

Head of provincial association representing greenhouse vegetable farmers not worried about issue

Taking risks: Victoria theatre expert and author gains traction for his new model of tragedy

Edwin Wong releases Risk Theatre book, hosts successful global playwriting competition

Experience automotive classics and more at the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

Motorcar Weekend features Show and Shine, high-end Concours division, all for a great cause

Langford veteran rehab program takes multi-tiered approach to treating pain

Clinic ‘bio-psycho-social approach to healing’ from Victoria to the West Shore earlier this year

Sunny skies ahead for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at your week

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Most Read