The recent emergence of Saanich Action For the Environment (SAFE) has brought some balance to the discussion over Saanich’s controversial Environmental Development Permit Area bylaw.
According to spokesperson, Peter Haddon, “SAFE recommends that Saanich continue to use the bylaw to achieve its stated objectives with respect to development and redevelopment in Environmentally Significant Areas (ESA) but consider a number of improvements the group has put forward.”
Saanich council is holding a special session Wednesday, 7 p.m., in the field house of the George R. Pearkes Community Rec. Centre to discuss the report and could potentially abolish the EDPA.
The staff report suggests three basic process options: a repeal of the entire bylaw (which Mayor Richard Atwell attempted in November but no longer supports); a revision of the existing bylaw; or to retain the bylaw as is. If Option 1 is chosen, it would see the “regulatory framework” revert to its March 2012 state, and would affect a number of bylaws which have been changed since, such as the numerous 2014 Tree Bylaw revisions.
SAFE has it’s own list, and would like to see: an improvement of the EDPA Atlas; better defined permit and non-permit activities within EDPA-designated areas; developing policy and standards for ESAs within the urban context; a new review dispute resolution process for appeals; strengthened protection, mitigation and restoration on public land; and better developing education and communication initiatives to promote stewardship.
The group also recommends further research on relevant components in the bylaw.
To this point, the overwhelming majority of responses to the EDPA are against it.