Editorial: Chickens come home to roost

When ideology trumps common sense, strange things can happen, such as a poultry farm sprouting up next to residential neighbourhoods.

When ideology trumps common sense, strange things can happen, such as a poultry farm sprouting up next to residential neighbourhoods.

Saanich council has twice denied supporting a four-acre Mount Doug Cross Road property be removed from the agricultural land reserve, for eventual subdivision into a dozen houses.

Most of the neighbours were on side with this plan, and why wouldn’t they be? Most live in homes similar to those in the proposal.

But the problem for some Saanich councillors was the “repugnant” idea of turning farmland into housing. Preserving farmland makes sense in many cases, but not all.

The farm property, long owned by the Alberg family, sits near the boundary of sprawling Gordon Head suburbia and Blenkinsop Valley farm fields.

It’s surrounded on three sides by relatively dense, small lot single family housing. The fourth side has a few one-acre lots. It’s a stone’s throw from Blenkinsop farms, but pushes up against residential homes.

Perhaps some on Saanich council envisioned the property producing idyllic rows of leafy green vegetables. Instead, the Alberg family has proposed an equally valid farming activity – a 12,000-bird poultry operation.

According to renderings provided by the family, the four barns, access roads, an administration building and structures to hold manure and sawdust would roll over the majority of the property.

If the family has the capital and can satisfy Saanich that it will conform to bylaws regarding farm animals and setbacks, there’s no reason the poultry farm won’t be up and running next year.

Urban sprawl isn’t pleasant and Saanich council has the right to encourage more modern neighbourhood designs. But in Gordon Head and near the Alberg property, that ship has long sailed.

Forcing the preservation of a small, isolated piece  of farmland is, as the mayor noted, a no-win for the owners, the neighbours and the district.



Just Posted

Commuter Challenge proves biking to work was the faster option on Wednesday

Greater Victoria teams raced from across the region to a downtown finish line

BC Ferries asks boaters to learn signals and be careful around ferries

BC Ferries responded to 15 marine emergencies in 2018

Greater Victoria residents among the most credit-worthy Canadians

Yet debt levels continue to rise as Canadians owe $178 for every $100 earned

Sooke stop for African Children’s Choir

Concert date is June 2 at Sooke Baptist Church

VIDEO: Journey of SD62 Aboriginal graduates recognized at ceremony

‘Enriching and empowering’ ceremony encourages students to hold onto their identities

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Most Read