LETTER: Saanich habitat in need of protection

LETTER: Saanich habitat in need of protection

Re: Natural habitat disappearing, in the April 25 Saanich News. We are likewise concerned about the potential loss through development of this open green space located in an increasingly densifying part of Saanich. The former Royal Oak Golf Club property has been used for healthy outdoor recreation and relaxation by residents for Saanich and beyond for over 30 years. With the golf course being closed, the property is returning to nature. Native plants are recovering and animal and bird populations are increasing.

The only purpose of removing this property from the ALR is to facilitate future development. This would result in destruction of a regenerating natural environment and area of biodiversity and eliminate any potential for the soil to produce food for our community.

We were delighted to read Coun. Leif Wergeland’s assertion that: “Protecting our natural environment is essential to maintaining the balance, well-being and livability of Saanich’s many diverse communities and neighbourhoods.”

If removed from ALR, subsequent development would require virtually the entire property to be rezoned from P4 (open space and recreation), exactly the zoning that supports its past and present use.

Hundreds of Saanich residents can walk to the former Royal Oak Golf Club property in less than 15 minutes. The continued and increasing use of the property by citizens of all ages and abilities from all over Saanich indicates that it serves a community need. If this green space is replaced by a subdivision, with what Saanich replace it?

We hope Coun. Wergeland will stand for his stated values by making decisions that serve to protect this unique natural environment and maintain the livability of this Saanich neighbourhood.

Jan Elliott