Letter submitted by Cadboro Bay Resident to Saanich Council:
August 22, 2022
Thank-you for this opportunity to address the agenda item on the Housing Option Initiative that was stimulated by our Mayor’s Standing Committee on Housing Affordability for purpose-built development.
I have to admit, when i was reviewing the Housing Strategy Task Force Report I was sickened. It struck me that if there is consensus to adopt the original Draft Plan when gentle density was recommended in the Village Core that documents that are in progress out of sight, much like the Cadboro Bay Development Permit Area.
As you know, the attendees were not prepared for what was presented at the housing workshops, or, the dismissive attitudes of the facilitators.
After reading the specifics of “Pre-zoning” outlined in the Housing Strategy Task Force Report by CityScapes, I wondered if this may be a way to circumvent the Will of the Cadboro Bay Residents. It would see the entirety of our community become a Zone that would only be of benefit and complete control of the developers leaving residents at the mercy of developers to provide any amenities, depending on what arrangements they make with Saanich identified in the Housing Strategy Task Force Report. Then there is the Cadboro Bay Development Permit Area process that is also happening now, out of sight.
What was proposed at the last housing workshops was destructive of everything we value, and have valued, as a community, and leaves residents vulnerable and at the mercy of developers. Developments that may or may not include any amenities, depending on what arrangements they make with Saanich.
The Draft Plan Cadboro Bay residents approved last year supported the following Key Points:
Pg 1 Allow Cadboro Bay to evolve in balance with and respecting the community’s established character and local identity to “not lose the magic of the Village, provide social interactions in a village setting … public amenities that enhance local neighbourhood identity, community life, and the distinctive beachside community character of the neighbourhood”.
4.1.1 Consider updating Streamside Development Permit Area guidelines to recognize riparian habitat of no-fish-bearing watercourses and develop restoration or watershed management plans to enhance watercourse riparian zones, including those associated with Finnerty Creek, Guinevere Creek, Haro Creek
** recommend someone on staff take the initiative to update Google information regarding Finnerty Creek as it is out of date and inaccurate. Important that the information reflects all that has been accomplished by staff over the past 5 years. Take a look.
4.1.1 Consider tools to protect sensitive ecosystems and habitat in backshore, shoreline and foreshore zones adjacent to Cadboro Bay and Haro Strait.
So I have to wonder How can Mayor talk about purchasing Institutional lands on the shores of the Salish Sea for development opportunities knowing that densification of these sensitive lands is in conflict with approved Policies?
With all this identified, how could mayor possibly think that Cadboro Bay is equipped to manage and mitigate the density that was proposed by Planning Staff. Did staff and MIchael not read the CBLAP prior to the over-the-top density plans? We wouldn’t be wasting Thousands of dollars on reports that are not in sync with our values and environmental stewardship & responsibility.
Pg 38 Green Shore Principles
Maintain or enhance habitat function and diversity along the shoreline
Prevent or reduce pollutants entering the aquatic environment
Avoid or reduce cumulative impacts. Small individual effects add up to large impacts on the shoreline environments.
Pg 43 Policies
4.3.1 Preserve and enhance terrestrial ecosystems on public and private land in order to protect and enhance habitat and wildlife corridors.
4.3.2 Enhance native vegetation, wildlife habitats, rare species and ecosystems, urban forest landscapes and sensitive marine environments within Cadboro Bay when considering applications for changes in land use
4.3.3 Recognize and preserve the unique and endangered Garry Oak, Arbutus and other ecosystems and habitats which form part of the critically imperiled Coastal Dough-fir (CDF) bio-geoclimatic zone in 10 Mile Point and Queenswood Neighbourhood Areas
I am mystified at how this Policy will be accomplished given the saturation of High rises & density that will squeeze the rare and threatened Coastal Douglas Fir Ecosystem out of existence.
4.3.4 Seek opportunities to preserve and enhance native tree canopy as part of a contiguous urban forest, including the understory, in order to support natural regeneration and ecosystem resilience considering Climate Change and development
4.4.6 Implement the goals and strategies of the Urban Forest Strategy (2010) and it’s successor, to protect and grow the urban forest
5.1 The Village Centre will continue to be the core of the community while retaining it’s small scale character. Over the next 20 – 30 year, new housing options will be added through redevelopment in the Centre and gentle intensification on sites within the Village Neighbourhood.
Your constituents have been actively engaged trying to figure out how Saanich could approve the construction of 6 – 9 story buildings that don’t comply with policy . When the proposed options for density would destroy any chance of protecting or enhancing habitat and wildlife corridors, putting everything at risk of disappearing?
Pg 109 Beach Access Points and Viewscapes Public viewscapes, including views to, from and through a location, are an important component of the area’s character. Public viewscapes of importance in Cadboro Bay include natural vegetation and ocean vistas are enhanced by local topography.
The approved Cadboro Bay LAP policies are in step with the OCP Sustainable Saanich’s Official Community Plan in 4.0 Environmental Integrity 4.1 Natural Environment Policies
Pg 4.6 OCP
4.1.2 Sustainable Ecosystems A healthy ecosystem is vital to the well-being of the region and planet … Native vegetation cleans the air, build soils and regulate temperatures. Wetlands clean and hold water essential for life, and healthy soils support biodiversty … quiet, natural places and opportunities for viewing and experiencing natural spaces contribute to our quality of life within Saanich … Saanich and it’s residents are considered to be leaders in the region in preserving and protecting the natural environment … Ongoing and effective stewardship of the environment in the future calls for a renewed and enhanced commitment to habitat creation and protection, preservation of biodiversity, water and energy conservation, and measures to improve efficient land use and air quality. Sustainability practices also need to be entrenched into the management of growth and development, and as part of all corporate and community decision making.
Pg 4.10 & 4.11 OCP Policy
4.2.1 Sustainable Land Use Policy Growth Management Policy … Protect regional green and blue space; Manage natural resources and the environment sustainability
4.2.2 Urban Design & Accessibility Enrich the Existing .. Places should enrich the qualities of existing urban places. Whatever the scale, new developments should respond to and complement their settings.
Pg 4-15 OCP Policy
3. Consider the use of variances to development control bylaws where they would achieve a more appropriate in terms of streetscape, pedestrian environment, view protection, overall site design and compatibility with neighbourghood character and adjoining properties
Pg 4.20 OCP Policy
4.2.4 Neighbourhoods Maintenance of neighbourhood character is of paramount importance when considering new developments within established areas… new development to integrate into established neighbourhoods integrates
4.2.8 Parks, Trails, Open Spaces & Vistas Policy Acquire parkland through dedication at the time of rezoning or subdivision where:
land is indicated for park use in a local area plan, or land is adjacent to an existing park
Support the protection of significant public view corridors when reviewing development applications
Protect the scenic values of the principal transportation corridors
When I read through the policies outlined I have to wonder why they are not being respected. What was proposed by staff under the guise of affordable housing – or the newly adopted initiative the “the missing middle housing”, is not in this community’s best interest and does not fit in Cadboro Bay.
Destruction of rare and valued ecosystems is not in step with the British Columbia Climate Action Charter or, respect the indigenous history of this area of Saanich, much as Cordova Bay, we share the same indigenous history. As you know, Cadboro Bay is also tied to history with indigenous roots. And, the outstanding natural landscapes and recreational opportunities have long made Cadboro Bay a respite from busy city life.
For the record:
– I am not in favour of any of the affordable housing options that have been presented
– I strongly believe the recent Report from Urban Planning submitted on August 8th, 2022 titled COMMUNITY AMENITY CONTRIBUTIONS, DENSITY BONUSING AND INCLUSIONARY HOUSING Discussion Paper works against the will of Cadboro Bay residents/constituents, and leaves the back door open for developers.
On the opening page of the Sustainable Saanich’s OCP, states Saanich’s Vision is for a Saanich is a healthy natural environment is recognized as paramount for ensuring social well being for current and future generations. So what is being proposed by planning does not, in my opinion, to fit into this Vision statement.
In closing, I leave you with this reminder Mayor and Council, were voted to represent us, your constituents, not the Province or the University.
Thank-you for your considerations
Deborah M Dickson