Zoning change expected to entice daycare operators to Saanich

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Daycares for children and adults will be permitted in all commercial zones in Saanich, if council votes as expected when the issue comes up at its Monday night meeting.

Responding to a suggestion by Coun. Susan Brice at a May 17 public hearing, Mayor Frank Leonard brought forward a report this week asking staff to look at expanding daycare approval to more municipal zones.

“If we’re going to have commercial centres, these mixed use zones, and encourage people to reduce their travel by vehicle, then you want the work, live, play aspects allowed,” Leonard said. “This should be allowed in an office building, this should be allowed at shopping centres – wherever there’s a whole lot of workers, this should be allowed.”

The public hearing was a rezoning application that would allow a daycare in a proposed four-storey office building at the corner of McKenzie Avenue and Shelbourne Street. At that meeting, councillors all acknowledged the need for daycare spaces in urban centres.

“It occurred to me, ‘why are we hiving off daycare and having it have to be considered as an additional use?'” Brice said.

Leonard hopes, if his report is supported, that more daycare operators will set up in Saanich.

“When it’s not part of the zone, you’re discouraging it because it’s another hurdle,” he said.

Currently daycares are a permitted use in two commercial, one industrial and eight institutional zones.

kslavin@saanichnews.com