Monday, November 10, 2008

Letter to Times-Colonist

Dear Editor:

Iain Hunter’s comments in “The petty meanness of municipal politics”, November 10th, are just plain wrong when he suggests that rocky or boggy ground in Central Saanich should be okay to build on. He suggests “a few modest houses” would provide farmers “with income and new tenants the pleasures of country living.”

First of all the houses proposed are rarely ‘modest’ and will cost the taxpayers a great deal of money over time because of the provision and maintenance of infrastructure and other services outside our carefully community-chosen urban containment boundaries.

It’s not the farmer, but the developer who will get most of the money and those who move in will immediately begin complaining about the farm odours, the smoke from burning, the early morning machinery start-ups etc. We have these buffers between farmland, industrial land and urban areas for a reason.

We are one of the only countries in the world that so easily writes off land as ‘unfarmable’ to say nothing of the other values embodied in that land. The rocky hillside at Vantreight farms was visited by a snowy owl just this week and the arbutus and garry oaks that clothe that hillside are protected species providing a safe haven for what’s left of the wildlife in our area.

As for anyone who wants to build homes on a bog, they’d best check with insurance companies first. We have several homes built on old bogs or floodplains and the natural water problems they have throughout the winter are only increased by those who have built upslope from them. This will only worsen with the increase in rain that is predicted for this area as a result of climate change.

It would be nice if those judging our municipality attended our council meetings and read our Official Community Plan before commenting.

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