NORTH SAANICH OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN

by Marsha Conley
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The District of North Saanich is updating its Official Community Plan. Many residents of Dean Park and other neighbourhoods in North Saanich are concerned about some of the proposals made in the current discussions of the North Saanich Official Community Plan. 

Everyone in North Saanich should have received a printed document in the mail about Phase 3 of public engagement regarding the OCP.   Please read it carefully.

Even if you have already expressed your opinions about the OCP in the past two years, we ask you to continue to engage in the process of guiding and influencing the drafting of the OCP.  Here are some important ways that you can do that.

  1. Complete the OCP Survey on the district website.
    Here is a direct link to the survey.
    https://www.connectnorthsaanich.ca/ocp/survey_tools/ocp-phase-3-survey
    The survey is open until June 12 but don’t delay.  Do it today!
  2. Attend the Virtual Open House on May 31, 2022 6 – 8:30 p.m.
    Virtual Open House on Zoom

    Register by emailing planning@northsaanich.ca(External link) 

    There will be a short presentation on the draft vision, goals, land use scenarios, and policy directions related to the six OCP themes. There will be a range of activities to gather feedback and a Q&A session.

  3. Attend the In-person session on June 04 2022  2 – 5 p.m.
    Open House at McTavish Academy of Art, 1720 Mills Road

    The open houses are intended to update participants on the OCP review process, share the draft vision, goals, policy directions and land use scenarios. There will be poster boards, large maps, and colourful engagement materials to animate the event. Participants will have the opportunity to speak to a planner, ask questions about the OCP review process, materials, and provide feedback. As part of the open houses presentations from the Project Team are planned to take place on the hour.

  4.  Attend the In-Person session on June 09, 2022   6 – 9 p.m.
    Open House at Deep Cove Elementary, 10975 West Saanich Road

    The open houses are intended to update participants on the OCP review process, share the draft vision, goals, policy directions and land use scenarios. There will be poster boards, large maps, and colourful engagement materials to animate the event. Participants will have the opportunity to speak to a planner, ask questions about the OCP review process, materials, and provide feedback. As part of the open houses presentations from the Project Team are planned to take place on the hour.

If you have questions about these events or other aspects of the OCP, you can contact the staff involved in the community engagement and planning process as indicated below.

Carly Rimell | Senior Planner – Planning Policy and Climate Change
District of North Saanich | 1620 Mills Rd | North Saanich, BC V8L 5S9 | 250-655-5477

 

Here is a quick review of the OCP process so far to try to clarify where things stand.

Early 2021 — District of North Saanich Advisory Group began working with staff and consultants on an OCP (Official Community Plan)

March 2021– District of North Saanich made a survey available to residents on the OCP

June 2021 – Pop-up meetings were held around the district to seek community feedback

In response to information provided at the consultants at Pop-Up Meetings, over 400 letters and emails from residents were received by DNS Council.   There was a huge negative response from the North Saanich residents especially around ideas such as densification & “sensitive infill” proposals which would have allowed for condos, secondary suites, carriage houses and neighbourhood nooks such as coffee shops, and other commercial properties. Only a few responses were in favour of these proposals.  Dean Park Estates and the Terraces areas were mentioned specifically for this “densification”.

Sept. 2021 – In response to negative feedback from residents, District of North Saanich, initially suggested removing Dean Park from these densification plans but continuing with plans in the Terraces and the MacTavish area. 

January & February 2022 – Several council meetings have included discussions on the OCP moving forward.  There have been a variety of proposals still being discussed,  and no plan for progressing with the OCP has been finalized.  Meanwhile, council continues to spend significant funds on the consultants services without any progress being visible.

March 2022 – It is now unclear but it seems to many that some of the suggestions in the original draft are back up for discussion regarding Dean Park specifically.   Council had stated months ago that changes such as “sensitive infill” and commercial rezoning in Dean Park Estates were no longer being considered. However, it appears from the consultants employed by the district that “neighborhood nooks” and guest cottages are being put back into the next plan draft despite hundreds of letters, emails, and presentations at council meetings expressing strong concern and disapproval from Dean Park residents.

To summarize:

While the OCP makes suggestions for changes in many areas of North Saanich, some of the proposals under discussion which would impact Dean Park directly include the following:

  1. Possible rezoning to allow “sensitive infill” including duplexes, triplexes, carriage houses, a variety of secondary suites and “neighbourhood nooks” which could include coffee shops, pizza parlours, etc. within Dean Park Estates and the Terraces area, and
  2. There is some uncertainty as to whether the Dean Park covenants could be swept aside by the NS Council.

Additional proposals in the OCP discussions so far that concern many residents include the following.

  • A map used as part of the OCP public meetings, showed that the nature trail behind the Panorama Rec. Center may be eliminated and a multi-story senior condominium complex may be put in its place.  However, we have been personally assured by the mayor on May 17 that this proposal is NOT currently being considered.
  • McTavish Rd may be rezoned to allow  apartment complexes and additional commercial development.  
  • More housing density and commercial development in Deep Cove is possible.

DPECA is collaborating with other community groups to raise awareness of these proposals and to mobilize residents to respond directly to North Saanich Council before it is too late.   This includes the Save North Saanich group – http://www.savenorthsaanich.ca and the North Saanich Residents Association – https://www.placespeak.com/en/topic/6103-north-saanich-residents-association/#/overview and PROW.

DPECA urges all residents to review the current proposals for the OCP.

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