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Senanus Waterline

Municipal, Central Saanich Municipality 7 Comments »

Senanus Waterling : Bureaucracy in Action
By Sean McNulty

The residents of Senanus drive have been trying to obtain clean potable water for over 15 years now. The inaction from the municipality of Central Saanich regarding this issue is an example of beauracrasy in action. There has been an endless amount of engineer reports, studies, legal opinions and other roadblocks thrown in the way, while in the meantime residents have been trucking in water from the Sooke Lake Reservoir at the rate of one water truck per week.

The water quality on Senanus drive started to become an issue when the neighboring hay farms began digging additional wells to provide more water to their fields. Hay fields without water only yield one crop per year, whereas hay fields with water can yield three. A side effect of this additional watering: depletion of the aquifer which results in a loss of hydrostatic pressure and increased mineralization and salt water intrusion into the wells. This happened to such an extent that the Capital Regional Districts (CRD’s) Chief Medical Officer deemed the water from the wells on Senanus unsafe for consumption.

The main argument against extending the waterline is that it will lead to development, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are water lines running throughout the municipality and development doesn’t automatically follow them. In fact, the zoning was changed on Senanus drive so that even with the water line extension the minimum lot size allowed is five acres which means any subdivision would require rezoning.

Another argument against the water line is that it contradicts the Regional Context Statement in the Central Saanich OCP and the CRD’s Regional Growth Strategy. This doesn’t hold water. For one, these are to regulate growth; the houses are existing, and two, the RGS outlines exceptions for health and fire reasons, both of which apply to this situation.

It’s particularly interesting the extent some members of mayor and councilor, both past and present, have gone to stop this water line. In 2002, the residents on Senanus offered to pay for the entire thing. At the time, under Bylaw 524, if they were to pay for it the municipality would be required to provide the service. Amazingly, the Mayor and Council at that time then amended the bylaw, in only 6 weeks, which removed their obligation.

The residents forged forward despite this setback, drawing up a petition that showed overwhelming support from the area for the waterline. The municipality then accused the residents of using coercive tactics to get the signatures, with no proof! Not to mention that during all this costs of installation increased from $800 000 to $1.6 million.

The petition has since been submitted, a grant has been applied for and approved for $1.1 million, and it appears the residents of Senanus Drive will finally receive potable drinking water barring any unwise decisions on behalf of the current Mayor and Council. Interestingly, the majority of the councilors get their water through the municipal waterlines; it’s time for them to allow their fellow residents access as well.

Cinema Under the Stars

Municipal, Central Saanich Municipality 4 Comments »

Last night, I had the pleasure to help out with the Saanich Peninsula Chambers Cinema Under the Stars sponsored by COOP.

The event was a tremendous success! It boasted a market, coffee from Fresh Cup, hot dogs, popcorn and a fantastic movie - Raiders of the Lost Ark!

The credit for this impressive idea belongs to Eileen Leddy and her staff at the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. I recall hearing about this initiative last year and it is excellent to see it followed through and the effort pay off. I can tell you first hand from being on the board at the chamber that the work being done there is just fantastic. They’re doing an outstanding job promoting business, promoting community events and making the Peninsula an even better place to live!

Of course, you can’t forget about the volunteers who make it all come together the day of! Excellent job everyone!

Sean

Municipalities Response to Referendum Question

Central Saanich Municipality 4 Comments »

Below is the response I recieved from the Municipality of Central Saanich regarding adding amalgamation to the referendum questions we’ll be asked this November.

Sean

 

Dear Mr. McNulty

Re: Referendum Question - Amalgamation

Thank you for your e-mailed correspondence dated July 29, 2008 addressed to the Municipal Council which requested that Council approve the inclusion of an additional referendum question on the 2008 civic election ballot pertaining to the issue of amalgamation of the three Peninsula Municipalities.

Please be advised that your correspondence was received and carefully considered by Council at a Special (Open) Council Meeting held on July 30, 2008, at which time the questions for the upcoming referendum were finalized. Council wishes to advise that it has previously determined that the purpose of this particular referendum is primarily to gauge the degree of support of the electorate for the District’s participation in the Panorama Recreation Centre Swimming Pool Renovation/Expansion Project, as well as to pose a limited number of additional questions related to issues of financial sustainability, municipal infrastructure projects, property taxation, service levels and debt financing. in addition, were a question on the amalgamation issue to be included, Council considers that it would be both prudent and necessary to have prior consultations with both the Municipalities of Sidney and North Saanich in regards to their willingness to conduct a similar referendum during the upcoming civic election.

Once again, thank you for your letter, and Council appreciates your interest in the upcoming referendum.

Yours truly,

Gary C. Nason
Administrator

Indirect Taxation

Central Saanich Municipality 1 Comment »

The Municipality of Central Saanich is in the process of amending the Central Saanich Ticket Information Utilization Bylaw No 1545 with a new bylaw: Bylaw No 1611.

This particular bylaw deals with the fine amount for different infractions. If you thought the 9% to 12% property tax increase was bad, you’re in for a surprise. Not only did most fines at least double and in some cases quadrupled, they are adding a myriad of fresh new infractions to fine us citizens for.

Municipal bylaw infraction tickets are there to act as a disincentive, not put people out of house and home. You see the same trend happening with speeding tickets: you get one on the ride to work and next thing you know you’ve lost a few days pay. Central Saanich is following suit with the doubling of “noise which disturbs” (extremely vague at best, how about some decibel numbers) to $200 and if you decide to “prune without a permit” you’re going to be out $400 up from $100.

Aren’t there more important things that the municipal staff could be spending their time on, other than finding new ways to get in our wallets? The Mayor and Council is there to provide oversight and to ensure that we, the taxpayers, are getting the most for our tax dollars. The fact that this is at the top of the priority list in Central Saanich concerns me with the directions they are giving to Municipal Staff, especially considering three of the six infraction appendixes were already updated within the last 2 years!

This change seems to be a part of a systematic attempt to indirectly tax the people and businesses of Central Saanich.  Especially when you consider the Development Cost Charge bylaw amendment that has already made it past its first reading. This DCC amendment will make developers treat Central Saanich like a radiated zone by raising the DCC charges in the Brentwood Bay Area from $9 680 per 1000 sqm of floor area to $18 614.13 per 1000 sqm of floor area. How are policies like this going to replace the jobs that were lost in this municipality when West shut down?

Over the last several years, licenses, permits and penalties have steadily accounted for between 5-6% of municipal revenue: between $850,000 and $1,000,000.  I look forward to seeing how much they account for during the first full year under these new schemes.

Before I conclude, allow me to offer the following advice: When entering the polling booth to vote the next mayor  into office this November 15th, be sure to leave your extra cash at home;  the present administration may try to make one last grab at your wallet!

Sean

Below is a chart of the old infractions, new infractions, old fine amount and new fine amount contained in Bylaw No 1611.

OFFENCE NEW FINE OLD FINE

Noise Suppression Bylaw No 933, 1989

Noise which disturbs $200 $100
Sound between 9pm and 7am which disturbs $200 $100
Excessive Industrial Sound $200 $100
Noise from Real Property which Disturbs $200 $100
Heat Pump Sound in Excess of 45 Decibels $200 $100

Central Saanich Waterworks Regulation Bylaw No 1410, 2002

Install appliance or system $500 New Infraction
Operate, interfere with or make unauthorized connection $500 New Infraction

Central Saanich Fireworks Regulation Bylaw No 1579, 2007

Sale of Fireworks, Pyrotechnics or Firecrackers $500 $100
Use of Fireworks without Permit $200 New Infraction
Use of Fireworks Contrary to Permit $100 New Infraction
Use of Pyrotechnics Without Permit $100 New Infraction
Use of Pyrotechnics Contrary to Permit $200 New Infraction
Unsafe Use of Fireworks or Pyrotechnics $200 New Infraction
Use of Firecrackers $100 New Infraction
Use of Pyrotechnics Contrary to Fire Safety Plan $100 New Infraction
Use of Fireworks or Pyrotechnics without Supervision $100 New Infraction
Obstruction of Enforcement Officer $250 New Infraction

Business License Bylaw No 1610, 2008

Carry on business without a license $300 $100
Change place of business without license transfer $200 $50
Carry on non-resident business from Central Saanich Premises $300 $100
Obstruct entry of authorized person $200 New Infraction

Erosion District and Tree Cutting Bylaw No 993, 1990

Cut down a tree without permit $500 $200
Contravene condition of permit $200 $100

Central Saanich Tree Protection Bylaw No 1595, 2007

Cut down a protected tree $750 $300
Cut or damage roots $500 New Infraction
Place material on root zone $300 New Infraction
Operate equipment in root zone $300 New Infraction
Dent, gouge or damage tree $300 New Infraction
Deposit harmful substance in root zone $400 New Infraction
Remove soil from root zone $400 New Infraction
Blast inside root zone $400 New Infraction
Damage roots or disturb soil inside drip line $500 New Infraction
Undermine roots $500 New Infraction
Top a protected tree $500 New Infraction
Prune without permit $400 $100
Obstruct entry of authorized person $200 New Infraction
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