(Hard copy petition count January 19, 2016 - 403 signatures plus 485 here = Total of 888)
Come to the Town Hall - 2nd Town Hall is sometime in the New Year - late January or early February
This petition is to encourage the District of Saanich to have an effective Environmental Development Permit Area Bylaw for protecting areas of “highest biodiversity” in Saanich by following best scientific principles and the Provincial/Federal Standards for Mapping Sensitive Ecosystems. Protecting these Sensitive Ecosystems is everyone’s responsibility and the cost to do so should be shared by everyone. It is unreasonable to impose the entire economic burden of protecting a Sensitive Ecosystem only on those that have one on their land. Saanich needs to develop just and fair principles for compensation to these landowners to encourage protection of these areas that are of value to all in Saanich.
To Saanich Mayor and Council
We the undersigned support the intent of the EDPA Bylaw, however, feel it has been poorly implemented and does not meet the objective of protecting the areas of “highest biodiversity” within Saanich as stated in the Bylaw. We believe major revisions are needed for the Bylaw to meet its objective. We ask that consideration be given to the following:
Saanich staff has not followed Provincial/Federal Standards for mapping Sensitive Ecosystems. The Provincial/Federal Mapping of Sensitive Ecosystems was intended to be used as a tool to flag sensitive ecosystems at an overview level and states for Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory the information will need to be confirmed and updated through field surveys. Field surveys were NOT done. Saanich needs to hire independent registered professional biologist to confirm the existence of a Sensitive Ecosystem before these properties are included in the EDPA Bylaw.
Landowner contact was poorly done. The Bylaw intended that landowners affected by the EDPA be educated as to the Sensitive Ecosystem that may be on their property. These landowners should have been properly notified before the EDPA Bylaw was implemented and invited to open houses to discuss any concerns, or to obtain information so that they could protect or restore these areas.
Saanich needs to consider forms of compensation to protect the environmental values on properties, such as reduced taxes or outright purchase of special properties. Saanich should follow its recent DECLARATION OF THE RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT that states to “Ensure equitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens within the municipality.”
Saanich needs to be seen as a leader in preserving Sensitive Ecosystems and properly manages these sites in their own parks. Many of these sites are overcome with invasive species and do nothing to encourage landowner participation in the EDPA.
The EDPA Bylaw should be temporarily withdrawn until such time as the above concerns have been addressed, and a better process is adopted that will allow the Bylaw to be successful in providing shared environmental value to all Saanich residents with an equitable distribution of the burden for securing this benefit.
(To see if your property falls within the EDPA, use Saanich's online map service: http://saanich.ca/services/gis/
Step 1: Turn map layers on (using I want to… Tab).
Step 2: Open the "Environment" tab on the left. (Expand by clicking on the +)
Step 3: Select "Environmental Development Permit Area" and then search for your address (using I want to... Find by Address)
Please also send an e-mail to Saanich Council with your thoughts at email@example.com or phone a Councilor to ask why you were not informed before new restrictions were placed on your property http://saanich.ca/living/mayor/council/index.html
(Please let all of your friends and family know about this issue and ask them to sign at :
Anita Bull Contact the author of the petition
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