Saanich candidate calls for scrapping controversial EDPA bylaw

Michael Geoghegan is the fifth candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the Sept. 23 byelection for Saanich council.

Michael Geoghegan is the fifth candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the Sept. 23 byelection for Saanich council. (Photo submitted)

The newest candidate vying for a spot on Saanich council wants the district to do away with its controversial Environmental Development Permit area, calling it “an exercise in bureaucratic redundancy.”

Michael Geoghegan is the fifth candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the Sept. 23 byelection to fill the vacancy created by the death of Coun. Vic Derman in March.

Geoghegan, a 51-year-old government relations consultant, said the EDPA duplicates many existing environmental regulations covered by the provincial and federal governments.

“Saanich took it upon itself to act as if none of these other things existed. To me it seems like it’s been a huge headache at tremendous expense, and a bit of a make-work project for some biologist consultants. Let’s get rid of it, we’ve got more than enough adequate protection.”

He sees housing, taxes and accountability as the three main issues facing Saanich residents, and addressing those issues is what prompted him to seek public office.

Geoghegan said more inventory is the solution to the current housing crisis, and Saanich is seeing too many housing projects being delayed, denied or downsized, resulting in a reduction in the number of units available for sale or rent.

“Councillors have been so fixated on not upsetting the immediate people in the area because there’s going to be a building there, it’s created this crisis where we have a 0.5 per cent vacancy rate.”

He’s calling for a shift in focus from single-family homes towards more higher-density residential construction, along with commercial and industrial development, as ways to grow the district’s tax base.

“What you’re able to do is give your existing taxpayers a break,” said Geoghegan, pointing to a 58 per cent increase in Saanich property taxes between 2006 and 2016. “If we can grow the tax base then we don’t have to keep going back to the taxpayers to pick their pocket.”

He also wants to see a move to greater accountability, and will take steps to ensure spyware will not be placed on the computers of elected officials, as was discovered shortly after the 2014 municipal elections. “Why was new mayor’s computer loaded with spyware? Who made that decision?” he asked, calling for more transparency.

“It’s time for a little sunlight to come in on what appears to be a rather shady situation,” said Geoghegan. “This council dragged its feet on webcasting its council hearings. Let there be greater transparency.”

Geoghegan joins Shawn Newby, Natalie Chambers, Rebecca Mersereau and Karen Harper as candidates who have declared for the Sept. 23 byelection.

Just Posted

Giants draw first blood in WHL playoff series vs. Victoria

Home ice advantage non-existent for Royals against arch-rival Vancouver

Elizabeth May arrested at Kinder Morgan protest

Randall Garrison, MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, speaks out against pipeline

Large Kinder Morgan pipeline protest at Victoria MP office

Dozens gathered out front of Murray Rankin’s constituency office Friday to protest Trans Mountain pipeline

Esquimalt High robotics students engineer their way to Texas

Rookie team qualifies for FIRST World Championship after breathing life into armed robot Spike

5 must-do things this weekend in Greater Victoria

Soccer playoffs, hockey playoffs, Dunahee run, art show and Lego

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 23, 2018

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

Vancouver Island pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions we received from around the region

MLA Report: Lowering the voting age to 16 in BC

By Andrew Weaver On March 13, I introduced for a third time… Continue reading

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

View Royal mayor says Saanich had a take-it-or-leave-it approach to fire dispatch

Re: Communities pull the plug on Saanich fire dispatch. Mayor Richard Atwell… Continue reading

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Most Read