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Saanich debates ALR anomaly

One of the last “anomalies” in Saanich protected by the Agricultural Land Reserve was up for debate Monday night as a proposal came forward for a 16-lot residential subdivision.

These “out of place” pockets, as Mayor Frank Leonard puts it, are the remaining plots of protected land already surrounded by residential properties.

On Monday night, after the News’ deadline, council was expected to discuss the removal of a 1.64-hectare parcel of land at 1516 Mount Douglas Cross Rd. on the Blenkinsop/Gordon Head border.

“The Blenkinsop Valley Community Association says it should be kept (in the ALR). Gordon Head (Residents’ Association) agrees with the staff report (that it be removed from the ALR),” Leonard said. “If the community associations are split, it’s not unusual that the community’s going to be split too.”

In June 2006, council approved the removal of a portion of ALR land for a development on Cherry Tree Bend. It took three years for that project to be approved after council repeatedly requested it be scaled back to protect as much farmland as possible. Though Saanich has a significant amount of land in the ALR, there are only two small parcels east of Braefoot Road – including the property at 1516 Mount Douglass Cross Rd. – that are protected agricultural land.