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Saanich EDPA


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#1 Benn

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 08:40 AM

The Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) bylaw in Saanich has had substantial media coverage over the past year regarding a series of perceived injustices. The bylaw was intended to preserve, protect and restore native ecosystems during the development permit application process. A review has been going on since 2015, and in 2016 Saanich developed a process for removal applications to be heard. Unfortunately, none of the properties which have been put forward to the municipality for removal have had active development permit applications. On March 6, a motion was passed to 'temporarily' suspend the bylaw pending the review of the bylaw being completed. The suspension would have a serious impact to environmental policy in Saanich, as described in the attached article.

 

https://medium.com/@...8871#.u10fyx8d8

 

The removal decisions from Saanich council have centered around a dangerous assertion - that environmental values must be confirmed on the ground before government can identify them as worthy of protection.



#2 lanforod

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 10:30 AM

I get your point, but in this case the protections would cause significant hardship and valuation drops for any properties in question. Property rights should trump new environmental rights unless compensation is agreed on, in my opinion.

Edited by lanforod, 17 March 2017 - 10:31 AM.

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#3 Benn

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 10:49 AM

Can you substantiate the hardship and valuation assertion? That doesn't appear to be the case. Summary below, full report at saanich.ca/edpa

 

http://www.saanich.c...ary 17 2017.pdf

 

I know it hasn't impacted the value of my 1/2 acre property, which is in the EDPA. This is based on private appraisal, BC Assessment and sales in the neighbourhood. Property rights don't actually exist in Canada. Beyond that, I don't see how a development permit bylaw impacts property rights anyways - unless you are suggesting landowners should be able to do whatever they want to do with their land.



#4 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 10:56 AM

Landowner should not have to pay thousands of dollars to prove that their property does not have sensitive areas.  That's the kind of reverse-onus scheme (and an expensive one at that) that landowners do not like.



#5 Benn

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 12:43 PM

Landowners don't have to pay thousands of dollars to prove that their property does not have sensitive areas. The vast majority of properties in the EDPA that have gone to Saanich for permits / approvals haven't had ANY extra burden put on them - issues that can be resolved directly with staff. Regarding having to pay thousands of dollars - most of the landowners have got their biologist report for free. These properties are ones where Saanich staff biologists (and in most cases other third party professionals reviewing the properties) have had an opinion in conflict to the biologist providing the free reports.



#6 spanky123

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 01:06 PM

For the most part I agree with Benn. The valuation concerns and costs associated with having property reviewed have been overblown. It is true that developers won't pay a premium for a property within an EDPA area as the costs and timing of permits is a big uncertainty, and the few owners who wanted to redevelop waterfront property were being help up. 

 

To some extent this is a classic case of a few very vocal people with vested interests driving an agenda while the vast majority who are not impacted have little interest in the issue. 


Edited by spanky123, 17 March 2017 - 01:06 PM.

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#7 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 01:25 PM

Landowners don't have to pay thousands of dollars to prove that their property does not have sensitive areas. 

 

Why did this person pay $2,500 then?

 

Lea inspected both Webb’s and Bijold’s properties and found they did not meet provincial definitions of a sensitive ecosystem. Bull hired Lea to assess the properties, in hopes of gaining an exemption, but said the cost of about $2,500 should be paid by the municipality, not individuals.

 

- See more at: http://www.timescolo...h.wJaxbiXW.dpuf



#8 Benn

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 01:55 PM

Interesting - the biologist was questioned by council in the Committee of the Whole meeting March 6 as to why he was volunteering. He stated at that time he had volunteered for the Alberg farm property, the seniors on Rainbow Rd, and subsequent applicants. I had been under the impression that he was getting paid to do the reports as well, I was quite surprised when I found out.

 

My guess would be that the $2500 is fair market value rather than what was actually paid. The story changes substantially if you replace the $2500 with free.



#9 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 02:14 PM

OK, then why must homeowners be forced to find volunteer biologists to help get the designation lifted?  It's still a lousy reverse-onus.



#10 Benn

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 02:36 PM

Reverse-onus is typically used in legal matters, where the defendant has to prove something. In this case, if you see the landowner as the defendant, they would need to prove that there was no sensitive / native / natural / whatever environment on their property. Is the suggestion of having something worth protecting offensive, or akin to being accused of a crime? Homeowners are forced to find a biologist only if they feel the need defend themselves against such accusation or designation, or if they have a development planned.

 

This type of process is more accurately an application of the precautionary principle - see: http://www.cela.ca/c...onary-principle

 

Government is indeed offloading some costs on to landowners. Other levels of government do the exact same thing with industrial projects - see the environmental assessment process. Would you rather BC or Canada do all the biology, etc required to assess a pipeline project? Or see the pipeline company have to foot the bill, adapt their plan to account for what they found, and then let BC/Canada evaluate a project on it's merits with all the information available to them?

 

In the case of Saanich, they have essentially given the pipeline companies the authority to dictate government policy.



#11 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:06 PM

The pipeline, or the factory gets the assessment before it's built, so the proponent knows what's coming and can plan and budget for it, and decide the merits of it all.  In this case, Saanich has brought down a blanket designation on a small portion of Saanich homeowners, and then told them to bear the cost of proving that Saanich should have never made the designation to begin with. Then on top of it, when you prove your case you are still out of pocket for the expense.



#12 Benn

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:40 PM

The DP in EDPA is for development permit. You need a development permit when you do something big, like build a new house, subdivide, build a factory, etc. That is when you would get the environmental assessment (if you're in the EDPA), evaluate, plan and budget. If not there is ZERO burden - the designation is irrelevant.



#13 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:44 PM

It's hardly irrelevant.  In the hypothetical scenario where two house side-by-side are identical in every way, but one is in the EDPA and one is not, I know which one you'd buy.

 

Because one of them will likely give you less options for all those uses you described, if you can not get the assessment removed.



#14 Benn

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:56 PM

which house would you buy on this street?

 

Untitled.png

 

market suggests the ones on the south side (which are all in the EDPA) are more desirable. they all back onto a park, hence why the EDPA designation is triggered. The EDPA generally covers desirable environmental features - natural vegetation, water, etc. It's not like they picked properties at random


Edited by Benn, 17 March 2017 - 04:01 PM.


#15 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:57 PM

^ I don't know, I can not see the imaginary EDPA lines.

 

Of course the market says they are more desirable, they back onto a park.

 

But around the corner at 941 Woodhall, that's the gold mine property!  It backs onto the same park but he can do what he wants in his back yard, without Saanich in his face.

 

screenshot-gis.saanich.ca-2017-03-17-17-04-29.png

 

Now, surprise, surprise, look who owns that house, Jason and Alina Fisher, who happen to be two environment professionals:

 

https://www.linkedin...ny-beta/166687/

 

screenshot-www.linkedin.com-2017-03-17-17-09-44.png

 

Education
Ph.D., University of Victoria, Dept. of Biology. 2010. NSERC Scholar.
M.Sc., University of Alberta, Dept. of Biology. 1999. NSERC Scholar.
B.Sc.H., Carleton University, Dept. of Biology. 1995.

 

 

http://www.jasontfis...a/about-me.html



#16 dasmo

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 05:10 PM

It's a double edge sword. I am building a house in an EDPA and had to jump through a lot of hoops to get my building permit. But I want to live near nature so these same rules protect that. They should have been in place long ago IMO. We can develop and be compatible with nature in these zones. We don't need to kill it....

#17 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 05:21 PM

It's a double edge sword. I am building a house in an EDPA and had to jump through a lot of hoops to get my building permit. But I want to live near nature so these same rules protect that. They should have been in place long ago IMO. We can develop and be compatible with nature in these zones. We don't need to kill it....

 

If you backed onto Mt. Doug Park, do you really think you could wreck the park with your garden shed installation though?  That's more my point, why does the sensitive area stop at my house?  Or the middle of my back yard?  Why can't the sensitive area just start at the end of my property?

 

screenshot-gis.saanich.ca-2017-03-17-18-23-36.png



#18 nagel

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 07:16 PM

You don't need a permit for a shed under like 112 square feet.

#19 nagel

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 07:18 PM

I have an issue with the idea that a landowner should be able to do whatever they want with their property with no limitations. I have about 35 Garry Oaks. I appreciate the rules that prevent me from doing anything to them. Sure I own the land but I won't always. In some ways I'm a long term renter. Those trees should be there after I die for others to enjoy, even if I wish I had room to park a boat in my front yard.
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#20 nagel

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 07:19 PM

Which I don't by the way (have a boat or want one - I'm good with a canoe).

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