Earth Day is an opportunity for us to join together in appreciation of our natural environment. Let’s celebrate the steps we’ve taken to protect our climate and ecosystems, as we work together to stem the tide of further environmental devastation.
Saanich tables recycling depot proposal after neighbours voice concerns
Kyle Slavin – Saanich News
Not in their backyards… yet
The difference between a NIMBY and an impassioned group of residents hinges on the ability to justify your position.
The Royal Oak neighbourhood fell into the latter category, after somewhat successfully lobbying council to reject rezoning for a recycling facility proposal on Commerce Circle.
Councillors voted 5-3 to table the application, after a marathon meeting that saw more than 100 people cram into the council chambers and 28 speakers voice concerns over increased traffic, noise and decreased quality of life.
“If this is approved, you’ll be sacrificing our way of life for this facility, and sacrificing our community for this facility,” said a speaker who lives near the proposed site.
The Royal Oak Industrial Park on Vanalman Avenue, currently zoned for light industry, has one vacant lot, where Ellice Recycle intends to build a pay-per-use, open-air diversion facility. The use requires rezoning, because when the industrial park opened in the 1970s such operations were not on anyone’s radar – it wasn’t listed as an approved use of the site.
Coun. Judy Brownoff, who voted to reject tabling the application, said approving the facility would “erode” the decision-making process that led to the industrial park being zoned for light industry only.
“This is not about this business. This is about a commitment a past council has made about what this light industrial park should be – and it’s about quality of life,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in Saanich that doesn’t support a proposal like this … I just don’t see it (working well) on this site.”
Ellice Recycle came to council last July with a proposal, but concerns were raised then about traffic, noise and operating hours. In the new rezoning application, some of those issues were mitigated, but not enough to gain support from many neighbours or councillors.
Gary Bartlett, general manager of Ellice, which operates a similar facility on David Street in Victoria, spent much of his time at the mike clarifying misconceptions. Council took that, as well as the strong attendance of many opponents, as an indication that Ellice did a poor job explaining its plans to neighbours.
“They owe it to everyone (to host) another open house,” said Mayor Frank Leonard, calling the applicant’s latest attempt – a Feb. 2 meeting drew less than 100 people – “inadequate.”
He and fellow councillors cautioned outright rejecting the proposal, because there remains potential for an even more intrusive, noisy and vehicle-heavy project to be built there under the existing zoning, without council and neighbours having their say.
“I don’t want to look back and say, ‘what could’ve been is far worse than what we have,'” said Coun. Vic Derman. “Sometimes it’s better to know what you are getting.”
Despite the overall sentiment of councillors that Commerce Circle may not be the right location for this sort of facility, Ellice has another opportunity to engage residents in a dialogue.
“I don’t think it’s going to get any further. The issues are still the same and they will always be the same,” Brownoff said, prior to voting.
Many residents spoke highly of the need for a recycling facility like the one proposed, where the safe disposal of items including wood, steel, paint, pesticides, carpeting and appliances is possible. But the Royal Oak neighbourhood just isn’t the place to do it, they said.
“I think we need to be a little more considerate. I’m concerned, at times, that we (Saanich residents) don’t want anything near us, but we want all the benefits,” Coun. Wayne Hunter said, referring to projects like the planned wastewater and sewage treatment plant in Esquimalt. “We do need a facility like this to follow through on the (environmental) commitments we’ve made.”
Coun. Dean Murdock, who voted to table the application, said the onus is now on Ellice to make any changes they want, based on the concerns they heard Monday, and to clarify further misconceptions about its operations.
“There are lessons to be learned from this,” he said. “One is how to do proper community consultations. Two is how to make a design for this type of service work in our community. I am hopeful there are ways to make this work.”
Leonard, Hunter, Murdock, Derman and Coun. Susan Brice voted to table the rezoning application, while councillors Brownoff, Vicki Sanders and Paul Gerrard voted to reject it. Coun. Leif Wergeland was absent from the meeting.
BC Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon says he wants to talk to Mayors and communities about commuter rail on the E&N, light rail, or an overpass at McKenzie Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway.
It’s easy to dismiss this as political opportunism or pandering. Falcon had five years as Transportation Minister to do something about the Colwood Crawl and congestion on Highway 1, but failed to deliver. Now the leadership is at stake, he’s all ears.
But let’s recognize the opportunity that Falcon’s gesture presents to the Capital Region. A member of the governing party has opened the door to a major transportation investment. That’s money to fix our growing congestion challenges. Political rhetoric or not, it’s well worth answering the call.
BC Transit is steadily moving forward with a Rapid Transit Plan for the Douglas-Island Highway corridor. The Plan is for a light rail or rapid bus system, or a mix of the two. Saanich, Victoria, and View Royal Councils have all endorsed a rail-based approach.
A rail-based system offers environmental, social, and economic benefits for our region. It will cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase transit ridership, improve transit travel times, stimulate economic growth, and cut sprawl. It’s exactly the kind of plan a would-be Premier is looking for.
Let’s not miss our chance to fix the Crawl and boost our region’s environment and economy at the same time. We can, and should, pull together to fast track a business case for a rail system, including costs and benefits. Let’s get it into the hands of all the leadership candidates for both political parties. It might just make it to the top of the pile this time. It’s worth a try.
SAANICH COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY SUPPORTS RAIL-BASED RAPID TRANSIT
Nov 1, 2010 – CFAX 1070
SAANICH COUNCIL VOICED IT’S SUPPORT FOR RAIL BASED RAPID TRANSIT ALONG THE DOUGLAS CORRIDOR , THIS AT A COUNCIL MEETING MONDAY NIGHT
COUNCILLOR DEAN MURDOCK SAYS IT WAS A UNANIMOUS DECISION TO PUT SAANICH COUNCIL’S STAMP OF SUPPORT ON RAIL BASED TECHNOLOGY
“I’m quite pleased with the fact that council has made the endorsement of the plan. I think a rail-based rapid transit system will be an enormous benefit, socially, environmentally and economically to Saanich and to the Capital Region”
MURDOCK SAYS HE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE OTHER JURISDICTIONS WHO ARE IMPACTED BY THE RAPID TRANSIT PLANS TO THROW THEIR SUPPORT BEHIND THE RAIL OPTION AS WELL
The BC Transit rapid transit plan offers huge opportunities for economic development,
environmental sustainability, and social benefits for Saanich and the Capital Region. Saanich
Council has a limited opportunity to convey its support for a rapid transit solution that will
ensure that our community capitalizes on the full range of available economic, environmental,
and social benefits of a rapid transit system.
The Douglas Street – Island Highway corridor is a major transportation thoroughfare with
immense potential for commercial and residential redevelopment. A rail-based rapid transit
system creates an opportunity to drive economic activity along the corridor that will allow
Saanich to achieve the vision of a major “hub” centre at Uptown with co-location of commercial
and residential development in close proximity to rapid transit.
A rail-based system is a permanent commitment to quality transit that provides a basis for
development decisions. Unlike a bus system that can be shifted out of a particular corridor, a rail
system creates a framework for the rational development and siting decisions that instills
confidence in development planning and economic investments. Saanich and the Capital Region
cannot miss an opportunity to inspire confidence in the redevelopment of this important corridor.
A rail-based transit system offers environmental benefits that cannot be attained with a bus
system. Rail technology is an electric-powered system that dramatically reduces greenhouse gas
A rail-based system also draws a considerably larger ridership than bus-based technology.
Experiences across North America and Europe indicate a dramatic increase in ridership among
communities that introduced a rail-based system (e.g., Salt Lake City achieved its 10-year
ridership projections on the first day of its service; in its second year of service, the Canada Line
in Vancouver surpassed its five-year ridership projections). By shifting commuters away from
the single-occupant vehicle into a quality, reliable rail-based service, Saanich and the Capital
Region can achieve a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and attain the goal of a
one-third reduction in emission levels by 2020.
A rail-based rapid transit system provides commuters with a quality, reliable, and efficient
alternative to the single-occupant vehicle. The ability to move commuters more quickly between
their origin and destination allows them to spend more time with their families and less time in a
BC Transit’s own survey results indicate an overwhelming preference for rail-based technology.
During Saanich’s Official Community Plan and Climate Action Plan consultation processes,
residents repeatedly expressed a preference for rail-based technology. As BC Transit quickly
moves toward a recommendation on selecting a technology for the rapid transit plan, Saanich
Council has an opportunity to endorse, on behalf of its residents, rail-based transit as the
preferred technology for the rapid transit plan.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Saanich Council convey its support for rail-based transit
as the preferred technology or modal choice for the Douglas Street – Island Highway rapid transit
project between downtown and the West Shore to BC Transit, the Victoria Regional Transit
Commission, the CRD Board, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as
Members of the Legislature and Members of Parliament representing Saanich.
Saanich considers ban on plastic water bottles at rec centres
By Kyle Slavin – Saanich News
Saanich recreation centres could soon be BYOB — bring your own bottle.
Two of Saanich’s advisory committees are exploring the idea of banning the sale of plastic water bottles in all municipal buildings.
“We’re looking at the ways in which it is possible to eliminate the sale of bottled water in our facilities, but still offer healthy options,” said Coun. Dean Murdock, who co-chairs the environmental advisory committee. “We’re putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage by selling a product that doesn’t use tap water.”
Both the environmental and the parks, trails and recreation advisory committees meet this week to look at the possibility of a ban.
Coun. Paul Gerrard, who chairs the parks, trails and recreation committee, said the removal of plastic water bottles is a logical progression for the municipality.
“We’ve introduced healthier food choices in all our rec centres, so this, I think, is a natural follow up of that trend,” he said. “I think the public would welcome the fact we are doing something to reduce that element of waste, when we have an abundant supply of water that’s healthy, safe and convenient.”
But John Challinor, director of corporate affairs for Nestlé Waters Canada, says it’s not the municipality’s place to decide what people should be able to drink at recreation centres.
“The public has the right to choose the beverage of their choice, wherever they may be,” Challinor said.
Instead of focussing their attention on banning water bottles, Challinor said council should launch an education campaign or expanded recycling system to ensure recyclables don’t end up in the trash.
“The vast majority of municipalities across the country believe that there are more important things to deal with. They’re not discussing or even thinking about bottled water – they’ve got more serious issues to deal with,” he said.
Both Murdock and Gerrard believe banning plastic water bottles will help reduce the waste going to the Hartland landfill. About 4.5 tonnes of recyclable plastic bottles were thrown away there last year.
“That’s something that can be avoided. And we’ll make every effort to try and change that because these bottles are not waste but are being treated as such,” Murdock said.
NOTE: The Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) recommended a ban on plastic drink containers at all Saanich facilities. This does not apply exclusively to bottled water. Further, the “competitive disadvantage” remarks relate to a discussion that took place at a Regional Water Supply Commission meeting and not within the context of the EAC’s recommendation
SAANICH COUNCILLOR SAYS SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT DEER PROBLEM
Sep 20, 2010
A SAANICH COUNCILLOR HAS ADDED HIS VOICE TO LOCAL POLITICIANS CONCERNED ABOUT THE CRD’S BURGEONING URBAN DEER POPULATION
OAK BAY’S MAYOR HAS OPENED THE DOOR TO SUGGESTIONS ABOUT DEALING WITH THE DEER AND DEAN MURDOCK AGREES THAT SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE.
SPEAKING ON CFAX 1070 WITH MURRAY LANGDON MONDAY, MURDOCK SAYS THE FIRST STEP IS TO FIGURE OUT HOW MANY DEER ARE OUT THERE IN URBAN AREAS
“if we are actually looking at reducing the population, we need to know what the current numbers are, and if we are being successful in the measures we are going to take, and then of course the most important ingredient in that conversation is, what are those measures”
MURDOCK SAYS HE IS OPEN FOR A CONVERSATION, WITH A CULL AS A LAST RESORT METHOD.
SAANICH OBJECTS TO COASTAL TANKER TRAFFIC
Sep 15, 2010
SAANICH COUNCIL HAS VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO LOBBY FOR A BAN ON ANY INCREASE IN TANKER TRAFFIC, OR OFF SHORE OIL DRILLING ON THE B-C COAST.
CO-SPONSOR OF THE RESOLUTION WAS COUNCILLOR DEAN MURDOCK…
“Saanich, like many jurisdictions in the Capital Region, has a coastline that we are concerned about, that could be potentially impacted by an oil spill, in the event of a tanker running aground”
MURDOCK SAYS SAANICH WILL COMMUNICATE ITS CONCERNS DIRECTLY TO THE FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS; AND WILL SUPPORT A SIMILAR RESOLUTION THAT IS SCHEDULED FOR DEBATE AT THIS MONTH’S UNION OF B-C MUNICIPALITIES CONVENTION.
For the second year in a row, Council increased the sidewalk construction budget by a half-million dollars. This provides a much needed boost to spending to accelerate pedestrian infrastructure projects all over Saanich. The increase in sidewalk spending represents a significant shift in priorities in favour of pedestrian mobility.
Proper sidewalks let people of all ages do more than just get from one place to another. They foster a sense of community. When we go out walking, we meet our neighbours and see and feel the natural beauty that surrounds us here in our community. Walking also reduces our greenhouse gas emissions by letting us avoid using the car. We are much more likely to walk to the grocery store, or just take an evening stroll, if we have a safe and pleasant walking surface.
There are safety and health benefits too. Our population is aging, and many seniors who don’t feel safe on worn or uneven footpaths need a proper sidewalk to stay mobile and healthy.
Serving pedestrians with sidewalks and crosswalks has a much-needed traffic calming effect. Studies have proven that routes with sidewalks, bike lanes, and natural vegetation result in lower driving speeds. Commuters see that our streets are not through-ways or highways, but are the veins of life of our neighbourhoods.
Sidewalk spending is an investment in more than just concrete and asphalt. It means healthier communities, climate protection, better environment, safety, and mobility.
This year’s budget makes pedestrian mobility a greater priority. I believe it is important that Council continues to invest in making Saanich a more walkable community.
Saanich is a great place to live. Let’s give people the chance to get out there and enjoy it!
Saanich Council recently adopted the Climate Action Plan. The plan is a blueprint to cut our greenhouse gas emissions in the community by one-third over the next decade. We’ve also set an aggressive target of 50 per cent reduction for all municipal operations during the same time. This week, Council amended the Sustainable Saanich Official Community Plan to enshrine the reduction targets as part of our community growth strategy.
The plan has been many years in the making and is the product of extensive community collaboration and engagement. I am inspired by the ideas and knowledge that came from the community and shaped the initiatives within the plan. The incredible work by staff to develop the ideas into a series of short- and long-term initiatives has given Council a truly impressive document with which to guide our activities as we cut our emissions.
It’s important to celebrate this important milestone, but we cannot lose our momentum. Our climate is under threat and we must take action to cut our emissions and reduce our energy use. The plan identifies a number of short-term initiatives, including building more sidewalks and bikelanes, improving bus shelters, corporate car pooling and bus passes. These initiatives are underway and Council has accelerated pedestrian, cycling, and transit infrastructure improvements. Council added an extra half million dollars to the 2010 sidewalk budget. In 2009, Saanich installed 3.1 kilometres of new sidewalk.
Long-term initiatives, including a district-wide mobility action plan and rapid transit on the Douglas corridor, will have a major impact on our infrastructure investments. They require collaboration with the CRD, BC Transit, provincial Ministries, and neighbouring municipalities to be successful. To meet these longer-term objectives, we must have a plan in place to secure funding and cooperation with regional partners and senior levels of government.
As Saanich rolls out the climate action initiatives, we will continue to engage residents to raise awareness about new climate-friendly programs and infrastructure. The plan is a living document and it will evolve to meet community needs and ensure that we achieve our 2020 targets.
Ultimately the success of the Climate Action Plan comes down to individual decisions. We all have a role to play in reducing our emissions and energy use. The choices we make as commuters, consumers, renters, and homeowners will have a profound impact on our climate.
The climate challenge is our common challenge. Saanich is committed to achieving our 2020 targets. I know that by working together we will be successful.