Saanich council’s sanctimonious attitude to its constituents was in full force last Monday, showing utter disregard for the almost 20 residents who provided heartfelt and very real personal stories of hardship and being bullied in their attempts to satisfy staff enforcing the EDPA bylaw. In every case the common theme was a sense of frustration and overwhelming evidence that staff are implementing a highly subjective interpretation of the bylaw.
For example, instead of protecting “… the areas of highest ecological diversity” as the bylaw states, staff are restricting use of people’s private property simply because in falls within their description (not the province’s) of ecological inventory. This same block of five council members were part of the previous council that created this bylaw in the first place. And they continue to ignore its flaws and the real suffering its zealous implementation is causing. They claim staff have the power and knowledge to make fair assessments and remove properties from the EDPA if they meet the bylaw’s criteria to do so.
However, staff have done neither and instead have deferred the decision making back to council. Council is unable to, or simple won’t, make a decision. What a farce. Efforts to amend this bylaw by a growing group of concerned citizens have been going on for almost a year to no avail due to this pigheadedness.
Wake up councilors. By marginalizing citizens and ignoring real ecological problems in Saanich parkland your efforts are doing more long-term harm to genuine environmental causes. I only wish we could recall municipally elected members.
This ridiculous waste of taxpayer’s time and money is only going to get worse over the coming months. And we have to put up with them for three more years? Councillors Sanders, Brownoff, Murdock, Brice and Derman demonstrated they’re more concerned with precedent setting and image than doing the right thing. They act as though it’s black and white, either for or against the environment. What simplistic rubbish.
I’m for doing everything possible to protect and enhance our natural environment. But I’m dead set against bureaucratic tyranny.
Thank goodness Mayor Atwell and Coun. Plant are showing balance and obvious compassion for our municipality’s homeowners, especially the elderly.
Mark and Bev Insley