Letter submitted by Cadboro Bay Resident to the Cadboro Bay Residents Association:
December 21, 2022
The excerpts from the following article are quite indicative of the direction, we are headed. Twice recently, Cadboro Bay residents rejected attempts to get heavy densification into the bay through changing the Local Area Plans. Now Saanich is claiming that Local Area Plans do not fit the Official Community Plan and public hearings can thus be bypassed. This is an interesting attempt at subverting traditions of local democracy, similar to the Missing Middle Housing Initiative in Victoria, which was born from flawed reasoning from the development lobby in an attempt to bypass traditional local input processes, a dangerous trend against local democracy.
This would be accomplished with what they euphemistically refer to as pre-zoning, something that would allow rezoning that bypasses traditional community feedback e.g., from resident associations, through public hearings etc. The OCP update process, is itself deeply flawed, utilizing once again a survey that was open to anyone in the world, who could fill out the form as many times as they would like without stating who they are, or where they live, something rife for outside manipulation. Once again, using a phony ‘local survey’ loaded with questions pushing a development/densification agenda looks a lot less like it is driven by local democratic input, than by wider political party interests aligned with the interests of the development lobby, who have communicated to Saanich on this subject. To quote from a communication that was sent by a development lobby to Saanich on this subject last year:
“UDI recognizes that planning on a neighbourhood level through Local Area Planning can be very divisive. The fracturing of the community for planning purposes allows entrenched interests in the neighbourhood to dilute the planning process, which in turn hinders progress on the overarching community wide needs, which are well identified in Saanich’s Housing Needs Report“
With this direction of policy, are our elected officials pursuing an agenda driven by the residents, or by outside interests?
EXCERPT from Capital Daily article:
In Saanich, local area plans are incorporated into the OCP bylaw. But because some local area plans don’t match the OCP’s priorities on issues such as density or building height restrictions, the district can’t then interpret a particular development as being consistent with its OCP and push it past a public hearing.
“I think we are among the few municipalities in the province that does this,” Murdock said.
The district is trying to figure out if it is possible to update the OCP— a process currently underway and expected to be finished next year—in a way that recognizes that some of the local area plans are out of date and contrary to the goals of the OCP.
“We need to explore what decoupling would look like—that would certainly help us to move things forward,” he said.
“Once the OCP and neighbourhood plans are approved, Murdock believes Saanich will be ready to take the next big step: pre-zoning land, similar to Victoria’s Missing Middle proposal, to reflect the approved priorities. Developments that fit those priorities would then be relatively quick and easy to build.”