Tuesday, July 1, 2008

S-P-R-A-W-L: Undermining the Regional Growth Strategy

If the Senanus waterline is passed by Council we will have set a dangerous precedent that undoes the Regional Growth Strategy, endangers our Official Community Plan and sets up a bleak and overbuilt future for rural Central Saanich.

To satisfy the ‘needs’ of people with 7 bathrooms in one house, indoor and outdoor pools and, in one case, a home spa the owner had featured in Western Living Magazine earlier this year, the District of Central Saanich is preparing to build a waterline which will see those not on the line paying unfair amounts to provide service to those whose need appears frivolous at best. Keeping in mind that these homes were bought by people who knew that they were outside the Urban Containment Zones and therefore not eligible to receive services, we have to ask how this pipeline fits into the protection of our rural environment. Everyone is entitled to the basics, but when the basics become this ostentatious one wonders what the ‘need’ is.

Alternatives used by other neighbours along Mount Newton are not enough apparently for these homeowners. Options include wells and cisterns, rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling, green roofs for cooling and for storm water catchment and permeable surfacing so rainwater recharges the aquifer rather than running down the road into storm drains and then into the Inlet. Rain gardens also store water and of course a bit of water 'belt tightening' so that so much isn’t required wouldn’t hurt either. The following material is from the Capital Region District website.

Regional Growth Strategy

The CRD Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) was adopted by the CRD Board on August 13, 2003. The strategy represents an agreement, developed and approved by the member municipalities and the regional district in partnership, on social, economic, and environmental goals and priority actions.

The RGS includes eight strategic initiatives that together express a 25-year program for this joint partnership.

The eight initiatives are:

Keep urban settlement compact
Protect the integrity of rural communities
Protect regional green and blue space
Manage natural resources and the environment sustainably
Build complete communities
Improve housing affordability
Increase transportation choice
Strengthen the regional economy

Regional Context Statements

The Local Government Act Section 866 requires municipalities within a regional district to prepare a Regional Context Statement (RCS) within two years of the adoption of a regional growth strategy (RGS). The purpose of the Regional Context Statement is to outline how the municipality's Official Community Plan is consistent with the RGS or how it may be made consistent over time. The intent is to develop a level of consistency between municipalities and the regional district to achieve common visions and shared goals.

Our Regional Context statement is here: http://www.crd.bc.ca/regionalplanning/growth/documents/CentralSaanichRCS.pdf

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