Private crews spent Thursday morning clearing out the undergrowth of lots of Milner Avenue, where Kasapi Construction plans to build a sub-division. Area residents believe that the work aims to tip the application in the developer’s favour. (Wolf Depner/News Staff).

Residents accuse developer of playing ‘dirty’ over sensitive eco-system in Saanich

Resident says Kasapi Construction tries to create facts on the ground over sub-division application

A local developer is trying to create facts on the ground by clearing a sensitive Garry oak eco-system of its undergrowth, says a Saanich resident speaking for a group of concerned residents in the North Quadra area.

Stefanie Cepeda offered this assessment Thursday morning as private crews were clearing four lots off Milner Avenue of its under-growth. Last August, Saanich told Kasapi Construction to revise their plans for a sub-division on the properties after staff raised a number of environmental issues.

“This proposal is viewed as highly overdensified for the sensitive and valuable ecosystem present,” staff said in asking for revisions. “Would like to see a proposal that includes fewer lots, greater protection of the QEP [Qualified Environmental Professional] identified sensitive areas and perhaps includes a larger common area protected under natural state covenant, and a restoration plan.”

RELATED: Subdivision planned for area once protected by EDPA

RELATED: Neighbourhood praises Saanich’s decision to deny subdivision

Cepeda said Saanich staff specifically identified the under-growth of the area for protection and this clean-up — which started Wednesday — represents a bad faith attempt by the developers to tip the application in their favour.

“So they are playing dirty,” she said. “They are absolutely trying to get rid of the problem,” she added later.

Cepeda said this move by the developer makes a “mockery” of Saanich’s environmental protection process. (By way of background, staff are currently working on ways to replace the Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) bylaw, which had protected the four lots, until council rescinded the bylaw, following criticism from a small but vocal lobby of home-owners who argued that the bylaw diminished control of their properties and their values).

“The vegetation that they are stripping would have been protected under the EDPA,” said Cepeda, who also used the occasion to criticize councillors, who voted in favour of eliminating the EDPA.

“Councillors who repealed the EDPA, and all those who have failed to replace it in a timely way, must be held responsible for the environmental destruction that has happened today,” she said.

Kelsie McLeod, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich, said the sub-division application remains active, and staff have been on site today, where they found no evidence of any infractions against Saanich’s tree removal bylaw.

“As for the removal of the under-story vegetation, staff have doubled checked other relevant legislation and can find no contraventions at the present time,” she said. “Without a specific assessment of the site by a qualified professional, it can not be confirmed if the vegetation being cleared would or would not have been protected under the old EDPA.”

The Saanich News has reached out to representatives of Kasapi Construction for comment, and will update this story accordingly.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Six boat wrecks wash up on Cadboro Bay beaches over the weekend

Dead Boat Society working with Oak Bay, Saanich to clear derelict boats

Former Sidney mayor calls on local MLA Adam Olsen to resign over protests

Olsen has rejected the demand, calling Price’s language divisive and responsible for polarization

Victoria hotel awards couples for baby-making with Valentine’s freebie

Have a baby nine months after your stay and enjoy 18-year Valentines deal

UPDATED: One-sailing wait from Swartz Bay ferry terminal after morning protest

Movement in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Poll suggests some don’t think Canada should send troops to stop genocide

The findings are being released just before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to give refund to B.C. buyer due to puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

UPDATED: Man dies in backcountry near Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort

The victim was found unresponsive in a tree well Friday

Cariboo Memorial Hospital on the mend after cold weather wreaks havoc

Burst pipes and water leaks cause three different incidents

Most Read