Saanich residents are invited to an open house at the Municipal Hall to learn about the 2019-2023 draft strategic plan. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Saanich residents invited to give feedback on the 2019-2023 draft Strategic Plan

Councillors feel it addresses community concerns, represents what Saanich stands for

Saanich council and staff have been working on the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan and are now ready for the public to view the draft and provide feedback.

An open house will be hosted at the Saanich Municipal Hall on Nov. 18 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. to give residents the opportunity to view the plan and discuss it with the mayor, council members and District staff.

Following the open house, council will discuss the draft plan during the committee of the whole meeting which begins at 7 p.m.

A new strategic plan is created after each election, Coun. Judy Brownoff explained. The process is long as the plans are detailed and must include time and budget considerations.

The 2019-2023 Strategic Plan took almost a year to create which is unusual as most are drafted within a few months of an election, said Mayor Fred Haynes.

Council and staff have put a lot of work into the plan and are excited to bring it to the public, said Coun. Ned Taylor.

READ ALSO: City of Victoria releases ambitious draft Strategic Plan

Coun. Colin Plant agrees. He feels the plan will help Saanich continue to move forward and he’s happy with the the goals and initiatives outlined in the draft.

The councillors are keen to address the issues brought up during the campaign – mainly housing, the environment, active transportation and the economy – over the next three years through the plan.

Saanich residents made it clear what’s important to them and council has listened, said Taylor.

“I hope [residents] feel represented, heard, taken care of and confident in our abilities,” said Coun. Nathalie Chambers.

She explained that the draft plan was a joint effort and that, despite the council’s diverse views, common ground was found. She feels the plan reflects Saanich and what the community stands for: meeting current needs without putting future generations at a disadvantage.

READ ALSO: Saanich councillor continues to oppose Natural Saanich process

Chambers, an eco-cultural food grower who manages 27 acres in the Blenkinsop Valley, noted that she’s personally concerned the climate change response isn’t drastic enough, but said residents should feel empowered to take climate action into their own hands by “increasing biodiversity” in their yards. Chambers noted that she’s open to giving away trees from her property and is offering to plant them for folks in Saanich looking to add to their yards.

Brownoff is hopeful that residents will attend the open house to learn about the plan and to voice their opinions.

“Please let us know what you see is missing,” she said, emphasizing that the plan belongs to all Saanich residents so they should be involved.

The rest of council was not immediately available for comment, though The Saanich News has reached out for comment.


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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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