March 17 Committee of the Whole Highlights

  • Triathlon for Willows in August

A request to hold a triathlon on August 24, 2014 at Willows Beach Park is supported by the Parks and Recreation Commission but will be referred back to staff for further consideration, before being referred back to Council for approval.  A variety of questions arose during discussion, including the potential impact on the park and surrounding areas, particularly traffic management.  The proponent is also a for-profit group and the understanding is that if this event was approved, it would be on the understanding that it was a not-for-profit community event.

  • Parking on Beaverbrooke

A request by some residents of Beaverbrooke St. for “resident only” parking to mitigate school parking problems was not approved.  Instead, recommendations in a staff report will be implemented that involve the municipality working with the school, parents and residents to address the situation.  It is my understanding that this is a long standing issue  related to traffic congestion at peak drop-off and pick-up periods at St. Michael’s University Jr. School on Victoria Ave., with school parents allegedly parking illegally on Beaverbrooke and blocking driveways in some cases.

There are also reported incidents of conflict between offending parents and affected residents that appear to only compound the problem.  In keeping with the recommendations of the staff report, I suggested striking a parking committee consisting of representatives from the neighbourhood, school, municipality and parents to work together on finding solutions.  I support mediation for these types of conflict but also suggested that the model be reviewed at the end of the school year to ensure that it is working for everyone.

  • Go With the Flow

Councillor Herbert gave a verbal update on the sewage issue.  Not much has changed and there are still concerns about the cost of the CRD’s plan and the outcome of Esquimalt’s public hearings on the location of a treatment plant.  The Municipality of Colwood has announced its intention to try to “go it alone” by opting out of the regional proposal and establishing its own service.  Admittedly, Colwood’s situation is quite different from other urban areas because the majority of its households are on septic systems.  But Councillor Herbert reported that there are still challenges for Colwood and only time will tell whether or not their bid to build a separate system is successful.

I mentioned the success of the Saanich Peninsula Treatment Plant, a CRD sub-regional system that serves the three municipalities of Central Saanich, Sidney and North Saanich.  As a Councillor in North Saanich, I served on the Saanich Peninsula Water/Wastewater Commission that oversees the plant.  The plant also generates and captures energy that heats the Panorama Recreation Centre’s swimming pool and is poised to provide heat to a local elementary school nearby and the federal government’s Centre for Plant Health, also in the vicinity of the plant.  Is it a model that could be adapted elsewhere in the region?  Stay tuned…