Property owners push for removal from EDPA

Marathon Saanich council session focuses on three properties caught up in controversial bylaw

At least one layer of public confusion was peeled away from Saanich’s Environmental Development Permit Area bylaw on Monday.

The intense council session saw the properties of 4007 and 4011 Rainbow St. and 4351 Gordon Head Rd. brought forth as priority requests to be removed from the EDPA. While they weren’t immediately removed, the fact council referred all three to a public hearing is important according to Anita Bull, who spearheaded the complaints against the EDPA bylaw, which was implemented in 2012.

Bull’s family has owned the lots on Rainbow for 60 years.

Residents packed the chambers to standing room only, eager to hear council’s decision in response to staff’s report. Staff recommended not removing the trio of properties, which included a Coastal Bluff covenant for 4351 Gordon Head. The removal items took up most of the four hour, 45 minute council session, and in the end, public, council and staff showed there continues to be a divide between Saanich residents and staff over the EDPA.

With an impending third-party review of the EDPA in the works, Coun. Vic Derman motioned to postpone the property removal decisions until the review is done. That was defeated though, due to what Coun. Dean Murdock believes is council’s commitment to dealing with properties one at a time, for now.

The terms of reference for the third-party review of the EDPA was also brought forward but was deferred by council (for two weeks) because it was released too soon prior to Monday’s public forum.

Coun. Fred Haynes said the referral of the properties to public hearing does not set a precedent that properties can easily be removed from the EDPA.

“Every case will be treated individually, which is what we said at the March 16 meeting [at Pearkes], when we made a commitment to deal with each property as a council,” said Haynes, adding council is still exploring the EDPA’s complicated process.

John Alexander, a lawyer known for acting against Saanich in the past, spoke at the public forum on behalf of 4351 Gordon Head Rd. He cited a misappropriation of the EDPA bylaw onto the lot of 4351 Gordon Head Rd., owned by Charmaine and Chris Phillips.

“This property has a development permit on it already, a perpetual natural state covenant already, and in my research I can’t find connection between the documents,” said Alexander, adding he found no historical evidence staff suggested there should be a covenant.

The bylaw, in his opinion, does not ‘always’ require an EDPA permit in EDPA mapped areas.

Saanich’s biologist reports for all three properties conflict with those of biologist Ted Lea, who claims they are not worthy of EDPA status.

“I am 100 per cent convinced we need to develop a method to settle these disputes when staff (and staff-selected biologists) and the private biologists disagree on a site assessment,” said Coun. Colin Plant.

The owners of 4351 Gordon Head Rd. said they want only to rebuild on the lot, replacing the 1972-built home with one a little bigger, and not to subdivide.

Their home was recently valued by the B.C. Assessment Authority at $750,000, down from $1.7 million in 2015 due to the EDPA. An appeal brought it back to just over $1 million.

“We’ve taken a long hard road, it’s been very stressful, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Charmaine Phillips said.

The Phillips bought the property a month after the EDPA was initially implemented in 2012 and said they were unaware of the EDPA until they applied to build a new home on the lot.

“This wasn’t about a direct removal, it was about modifications to the mapping,” said Murdock. “We need a better structure in order to make that recommendation, and what we’re getting now is competing reports from biologists.

“Adding more biologists won’t solve this.”



Just Posted

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Emergency health services treated a person after they were blocking traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets on June 17. (Evert Lindquist/ News Staff)
Victoria intersection traffic returns to normal after protester blocked roadway

A person in a motorized wheelchair was blocking the intersection at Fort and Douglas Streets

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

Saanich police took a suspect into custody after a store employee on Cedar Hill Cross Road was assaulted Wednesday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Employee assaulted at Saanich store after asking suspected shoplifters to leave

June 16 incident saw worker taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read