September 3, 2008
Dear Mayor and Councillors,
I am really becoming more and more concerned that we are preparing policies that will do great environmental harm to our community, destroying its agricultural and intrinsic value right when we most need to be protecting it. I know this is not what any of you intend, there is not one of you that would knowingly harm Central Saanich, but this what may result if we don’t stop and gather scientific information before we go any further.
How can we allow something like the Regional Context Statement to go through when we don't even know what the baselines of sustainability are in our community? We have nothing to tell us how many homes, businesses and farms our water table can handle or whether our land will be seriously depleted of nutrients as a result of climate change. We do know that all around us others are building willy-nilly and they are undoubtedly depleting the water and other resources that are available to us all.
We have nothing to measure any of the four criteria with, we are simply trusting what others have done, who themselves have no way to measure what the environment around us can sustain. It’s not anyone’s fault that we don’t have these measures, we never understood that we needed them before, but now we know that we are in trouble and need to conserve the resources we have.
Maybe we need to take a step back and develop measures using the best science available (Dr. Weaver at UVic would be a good person to guide this process).
We have an obligation to be sure that we are doing no further harm to our environment and that what we pass on to the youngsters in our community is in the best condition possible. We have an obligation not to continue with business as usual when we can’t say with certainty that what we are doing will do no harm.
Changes need to be made immediately and going slowly is probably the most important first step we can take. We have to look at the long term and not be persuaded by immediate pressures.
The problems we are facing are global in scale, but we need to find local government solutions if we are to overcome them. The time we have to make the change is short. Will we continue to grow when growth is contra-indicated or will we have the courage to stop, examine and make the changes that are needed?