Mayor Richard Atwell is bringing the Watkiss Way property back to Council on Monday (July 20).
Atwell would like to see the 12-hectare property forwarded to the Capital Regional District sewage treatment plan for consideration. Council initially voted it down 5-4 on June 22, mostly arguing that sewage treatment facilities shouldn’t be built on agricultural land outside Saanich’s urban containment boundary. Others in the region voiced their displeasure with the result.
The urban containment boundary protects rural land from most forms of development and would require a public vote for an exception. The site, owned Allen Vandekerkove by is across the street from Victoria General Hospital.
“It just needs one vote, I don’t know who that could be, but last time there was (clearly) a lack of public input and the public needs to weigh in,” Atwell said.
Public will have a chance to speak on it Monday as well as submit letters in advance to Saanich.
A positive vote would allow the site to undergo technical analysis by the Eastside Select Committee, a regional group comprised of regional CRD directors and staff from Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich who are responsible for evaluating the most acceptable sites for sewage treatment.
The Eastside and Westside committees have already shortlisted “technically feasible” sites across the CRD, but had asked private land owners to submit property for evaluation before June 24. The Eastside group required private landowners to get approval from their local council before forwarding land for consideration; no such restriction existed at the Westside Committee.
Vandekerkove said he’s willing to sell or lease the undeveloped land, which falls in the Agricultural Land Reserve. He also owns the surrounding properties, such as 1947 Burnside Rd., which was rejected by the CRD previously.
The site would house new wastewater treatment and biosolids processing facilities.