Problems have developed since the passing of the Saanich EDPA bylaw in 2012. The rules are still ambiguous and some property owners are developing an allergic reaction to the legislation.
It has become a councillor’s game of “Whack-a-Mole”. The object of the game: As the mole’s head appears, it is knocked down with the help of a plastic mallet. Unfortunately, it is not a game for some property owners. It has become an expensive exercise in frustration. Much time has been spent beating down the complaints as Saanich defends its position.
Council’s efforts and resources could have been used for passing affordable housing projects, finding accommodations for the homeless or removing derelict boats. I would like to suggest that a fund be established. Property owners who want to have their properties placed on the EDPA Map could then have their property return to a time before man.
The environmental bylaw has become a tug of war between a belief system and financial reality. It’s become a tug of war between municipal beliefs and homeowner lifestyles. Some property owners are now at the end of their rope.
This belief system has some of the council congregation wagging their fingers at the EDPA public gallery. “Your boat docks, pathways and patios are ruining the planet and the Saanich plan,” the stone tablets warns. Apparently, Saanich pipelines, paving and parking lots do not interfere with the planet.
But it was the Saanich EDPA that started the battle and supplied the ammunition for discontent. Saanich has attacked the trust and peace of mind of land owners who have invested their lives and life savings into their property. There has been an intrusion on financial estates as well as an undermining of some property owner’s state of mental health.
It is as if one’s domain has been shackled with “house arrest” and a loss of property rights.
Residents have become engaged citizens. Saanich residents live long and do not easily forget. They pay their taxes. They pay municipal salaries. Some are grumpy. They vote.