The Committee of the Whole will be considering a recommendation for a revision of the Deposit of Fill Bylaw at its meeting on Monday, November 19, 2012.
The meeting commences at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Saanich Municipal Hall. Members of the public are welcome to attend and will be given an opportunity to make a 5 minute presentation to Council if you choose. Written correspondence received up to 4:00 p.m. the day of the meeting will be copied to Council for their consideration. Correspondence should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. All correspondence submitted to the District of Saanich in response to this E-mail will form part of the public record and will be published in a meeting agenda.
The current Deposit of Fill Bylaw was originally written in 1993 and does not address some of the current concerns such as filling on agricultural lands, environmental impacts of filling and the imposition of volumetric fees for the deposit of fill.
The flood plain mapping in the current bylaw needs to be revised to reflect the more accurate mapping that has been developed through the Geographic Information System. Concerns regarding large scale filling operations in rural areas were brought to Saanich’s attention earlier this year. Many of the concerns such as noise, dust, debris on roadways, and operation of equipment have been addressed in other Municipal Bylaws (Noise Bylaw, Street and Traffic Bylaw) or by the recent October 2012 amendment to the Deposit of Fill Bylaw. The October amendment limits the amount of filling permitted on a parcel to 15% coverage or 2,000 cubic metre per hectare of land.
The Official Community Plan outlines several policies that have been incorporated into the proposed bylaw. These policies include the protection and restoration of habitats that support native species of plants and animals, the protection of trees and the urban forest, and the protection of flood plains and agricultural capability. Many of the principles and exemptions included in the current bylaw have been retained in the new bylaw. The most important of these principles is the protection of flood plains to reduce peak flows in streams and the encouragement of stream restoration projects through permit fee exemptions. Proposed changes include:
- Recognition that some fill proposals may need a Streamside or an Environmental Development Permit which must be obtained before a fill permit can be issued.
- Clarification that ALC approval must be obtained for applications on ALR lands and that within the ALR, ALC regulations limit the ability of Saanich to prohibit filling.
- More comprehensive information is required regarding the impacts of the proposed filling. These requirements include information on trees, streams, wetlands and sensitive ecosystems.
- Additional information is required regarding mitigation measures and site restoration after filling operations are complete.
- Incorporation of the guidelines outlined in the current Saanich Flood Plain Development Permit into the bylaw.
- Revision of the flood plain mapping to reflect current information.
- Volume based fees have been incorporated into the proposed bylaw to recover additional road maintenance costs and repairs due to haul traffic.
The draft bylaw was reviewed by the Peninsula Agricultural Commission and the Environmental Advisory Committee, as well as municipal staff including the Environmental Division, the Parks Division and the Engineering Department. Comments from these groups have been incorporated to address specific concerns from each of these groups as much as possible. The new bylaw must be approved by the Province before it can be formally adopted by the District of Saanich. This approval process has been estimated by the Province to take four months.
[Source: Legislative Services of the District of Saanich]