Update from the CBRA Chair: Focus on Development

Happy New Year to all our members and neighbours! As part of the CBRA’s commitment to our membership this year, and in response to your answers to our survey, we plan to send out periodic informational updates on issues that impact our community.

Development was one of the top areas you said you were interested in, so the first topic is about the different development applications we can see in our area, the process they currently go through for approval, and how you can provide input. A few developments now proposed in Cadboro Bay do not require Council approval. There is a misunderstanding that every application must be approved by the Council when there are many changes approved through the Planning Department. These include subdivisions that do not require rezoning.

The following is based on information, with permission, from Kirsten Fagervik, Subdivision Coordinator/Approving Officer for the Current Planning Division, Planning Department, District of Saanich.

All subdivisions, whether they need to go to Council or not, are ultimately approved or rejected by the Approving Officer. Part of the process that is open to all residents is to submit either their support or opposition to a proposed development. That communication must be submitted in writing to be considered as a part of the review process. It can be received via email or regular mail or be dropped off at City Hall. 

Residents can submit the communication at any time during the process. Any concerns raised over the phone can not be considered as part of the review process.  For proposed subdivisions that are not required to be considered by Council, all communication must come to the Approving Officer and not Mayor and Council.  Council only considers land use changes where rezonings, variances, etc., are requested.  For files asking neither for rezoning or variances and proposing to work entirely within the confines of the zoning already established for their lot(s), unless their proposal changes to where they are then asking for such items to be considered, these developments fall squarely the Approving Officer to either approve or reject.

When the department receives communication, they are all date stamped and placed both in the physical file as well as the electronic file. Confirmation of receipt of communication is not sent out. What is important to note is that this communication is not shared with other residents or the applicant. If someone (including the applicant) would like to see what communication has been received, they would need to go through the FOI process, and any identifiable information (such as names and addresses) is removed. The letters essentially become anonymous for anyone looking at them.

The Approving Officer (AO) does not make a decision to approve or reject a proposed subdivision until all Departments (Engineering, Parks, and Environment) have been satisfied with all submissions, there are no further details to iron out, and the AO has read and considered any communication that has been received.

In summary, whether you are for, against, or want more information on a non-land use change proposal, you should send it in writing to the Planning department. Make sure to specify what proposal you are writing about in your subject line. The fastest way to send it is to

The CBRA hopes you have found this information helpful.  You can reach us by emailing

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