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The Vital Importance of May 8

As readers of this publication are likely well aware, the new council, along with staff and a highly qualified team of community volunteers, are in the process of crafting a shiny new OCP.

Research is well underway, data is being compiled and public engagement – on such topics as agriculture, food security, climate, environment, ecology, sustainability and resiliency - began a few weeks back.

And wouldn't you know it, folks: Once again, North Saanich is under attack.

There has been a notable uptick in seriously garbled (and wildly misinformed) sounds emanating from the usual suspects on social media. But really, when a municipality is defended by a rural-minded council with over two years left in their term, polemics from Team Pave-It are like bugs on a windshield - kind of gross, not particularly threatening*, and definitely not something we're going to bother writing about.

The difference is that this time, David Eby and Ravi Kahlon are grandstanding behind them, with big scary threats of provincially-appointed steamrollers and "standardized building plans" very much like the bucolic scene at the top of this post, which the Province has given itself the power to authorize whether a municipality likes it or not. (As well as literally any other development the minions in the Ministry of Housing like the look of, incidentally. And, of course, nary a whisper about any of it being affordable - no one would make buckets of money that way, silly!)

We are at a time and place in BC history where rural-agricultural communities which happen to find themselves anywhere near a city are destined to be subsumed by the Big Smoke unless they've got councillors with Sensitive Organs of Steel.

There's no question battles are brewing across the whole of B.C. The first line of defence here in North Saanich is an OCP that communicates, loud and clear, the importance of preserving this precious place, and emphasizes our crucial role in the Regional Growth Strategy. (Refresher for those who didn't nod off last night reading the RGS: we're essentially assigned to be the ecological and agricultural lungs of the region, along with Metchosin. The two municipalities combined are not meant to shoulder more than 5% of the growth of the region, ever.)

We happen to think this council is pretty tough, but right now they need to hear that the community is firmly behind them as they draft an OCP that sends a clear message to the chainsaw-wielding asphalt worshippers waiting to decimate our fields, tree canopy, green spaces and ecological habitats. Council needs our strong support as they demonstrate the concept of local democracy to a Premier who's been giving off some pointedly Soviet vibes lately.

Which brings us to the May 8 engagement session on Housing, Rural Character, Affordability and Sense of Place.

This is our chance to show up and show our support for the rural-agricultural nature of this wonderful place, and to send a clear message to council and staff that the people who elected them have their backs as they stand up against Big Dave's Building Bonanza.

We really and truly hate to disturb you outside of municipal election season. (And honestly, we hate to disturb ourselves too - it's been so blissfully calm in this lovely hamlet that we forgot the password to edit the webpage - now that's relaxation.) But this is existential stuff we're facing here, and we know North Saanich is not made up of the kind of folks who are inclined to let their beloved district go gently into that good night.

So, whatever else you do, please do not miss the May 8 session - arguably the most

important single gathering since 300 of us rallied back in the day on the lawn of Municipal Hall.

The drop-in session begins at 1600 Mills Road at 5 PM and runs until 8 PM on May 8.

And if you're still not sold: we have it on good authority that there will be cookies.

We very much hope to see you there!


Your friends & neighbours at SaveNorthSaanich

P.S. - While you’re in the spirit, come to the May 14 Session on Marine and Waterways! (Cookies strongly rumoured, but yet to be confirmed.)

*this does not include bugs in Saskatchewan, some of which - we are fairly certain - could crack a windshield.



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