EDITORIAL: Expanding boundaries for affordable housing

The District of Saanich is making a concerted effort to increase the supply of affordable housing in the community. But some of those efforts are being choked off by the district’s agricultural roots.

Saanich staff are looking into ways that could bring illegal secondary suites into compliance to ease the housing crunch, with a report expected to come before council Aug. 13.

The number of legal suites (a few hundred) appear to be far below the potential suites (some 9,000), raising questions about why individuals are not taking steps to bring their secondary suites into compliance.

Saanich currently permits secondary suites in most but not all urban areas of the municipality, subject to a dozen conditions as described on Saanich’s website.

Further complicating matters is the urban containment boundary that Saanich established more than half a century ago. The boundary, based on sewer system capacity, is designed to protect agricultural lands and encourage density.

But the boundary that protects agricultural land has also put a crimp into development. Saanich has restricted residential properties outside the urban containment boundary from hooking up to the municipal sewer line. That policy might have run its course.

A lot has changed since the boundary was established in 1964, and having properties within close proximity to a major urban centre confined to a septic system hardly seems like a 21st century solution to the issue.

As Greater Victoria inches towards a wastewater treatment facility, we should be encouraging more properties to hook up to sewer. A policy that ties the preservation of agriculture to the lack of modern sanitary systems seems conspicuously out of date, not to mention carrying a potential for future environmental and health hazards.

Certainly society has seen enough advancements since the time of Prime Minister Lester Pearson to allow us to preserve our rural character without turning our back on modern amenities.

Saanich needs to take a fresh look at the urban containment boundary, with an eye on sustainable development that will meet the challenges of today while preserving the rich tradition the community was founded upon.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

28 years later: Dunahee disappearance remains largest investigation in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

Saanich could become the new home of the world’s largest gnome

Galey Farms could find out Tuesday whether it will host the eight-metre-tall structure

Victoria Fire Department advises cigarette safety after two fires started in one week

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

VicPD faces ‘significant pressure’ following Victoria’s 2019 budget decision

Chief Const. Del Manak says council continues to micromanage his department

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

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

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read