There is a local area plan for each of the 12 neighborhoods in Saanich. (District of Saanich)

There is a local area plan for each of the 12 neighborhoods in Saanich. (District of Saanich)

Saanich council pauses updates to local area plans

Council will focus on housing priorities/policies to increase affordability, supply and diversity

Saanich council resolved to pause work on updating local area plans (LAPs) in the district during a council meeting Monday night.

The topic created some disruptions during the meeting as Coun. Nathalie Chambers spoke passionately against the pause, and meeting chair Coun. Zac de Vries tried to rein in interruptions.

READ MORE: Saanich Talks event kicks off Local Area Plan updates

“I think the result of pausing the LAPs as per the director of planning’s estimate for three years will be devastating for Saanich,” Chambers said. “Despite the fact interim measures were included in the strategic plan, they were already voted down. So there will be no interim measures in sensitive ecosystems and no environmental permits in new developments for three years in Saanich.”

Coun. de Vries said the Cadboro Bay and Cordova Bay local area plans will be completed as planned, but further updates to LAPs are on hold so council can focus planning resources on priorities and policies to increase the supply, diversity and affordability of housing in Saanich.

“Clearly our current growth model and policies have not resulted in the housing outcomes that our community wants. Housing affordability is a top issue for most Saanich residents,” de Vries said. “We have paused LAPs, which represents the status quo, in order to retool. A housing needs assessment and housing strategy in particular will expand our understanding of how housing works and how we can achieve the affordability and attainability that our residents need.”

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said the pause will be for about two years. “During that time, all locals will be engaged in ground-up discussions about housing,” Haynes said. The District will then return to updating the LAPs.

Haynes said the council has acknowledged there is a housing crisis in the District, and the pause is intended to help council respond to the crisis. “If there is a crisis, we need to know how to address it, otherwise we’re ignoring the crisis,” Haynes said. He said the council is approaching housing policy in a similar way to its approach to lowering residential speed limits: as a Saanich-wide push rather than “piecemeal”.

Saanich resident Vernon Lord said that pausing the LAPs “shows council’s disrespect for the process that previous council, residents and community associations have developed and agreed to.” He also noted Haynes stated on his campaign flyer for the 2018 municipal election that he would “ensure staff and council have resources to update the local area plans during the coming term.”

“Now we are talking about a pause. A pause that will allow development in Saanich to proceed on a global Saanich view with one goal; density and infill with limited community input,” Lord said.

READ ALSO: Saanich’s Cadboro Bay neighbourhood gets ready for its close up

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow @yrlocaljourno

District of SaanichHousingSaanich

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

Just Posted

Steve Smith’s image of two sibling adolescent grizzly bears playfighting in the Chilko River in the B.C. Interior earned him best of show at the prestigious Lion’s Gate Celebration of Nature club competition for 2020-21. (Photo by Steve Smith)
Victoria Camera Club captures top spot in prestigious nature and wildlife competition

Saanich Peninsula photographers part of award-winning team

Downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbour are part of a corridor that also includes much of urban Saanich that is part of the Greater Victoria 2030 District, a sustainable buildings climate initiative announced recently. (Black Press Media file photo)
Ramping up energy efficiency in Greater Victoria buildings goal of new group

Greater Victoria 2030 District part of North American network of cities working to reduce emissions

Oak Bay High Grade 10 students Oliver Wakely and Alex Joiner with the new scoreboard to soon be installed on the grass turf. Fundraising from the Oak Bay Barbarians rugby alumni and Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay High alumni buy new scoreboard

Scoreboard to be installed on grass field

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Most Read