Saanich Spotlight - Fall

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A message from the Mayor

Saanich is forging ahead with improving road safety and safe transportation choices for all road users. This year sees significant progress in pedestrian and bicycle facilities with over 1.6 km of new sidewalks and over 5.5 km of new cycling infrastructure. These add to our network of some130 km of bicycle routes, 250 km of sidewalks and over 100 km of trails. I hope you are enjoying them.

Our Active Transportation Plan (ATP) and the Active and Safe Routes to School Programs help ensure your Saanich continues to grow as a sustainable rural and urban coastal community. These provide a vision that prioritize our investments and works over the short-, medium-, and long-term and targets that help us monitor our progress.

The recently completed new “streetscape” on West Saanich Road of some 900m of new sidewalks and buffered bike lanes were installed is one example. Improvements on Prospect Lake Road of a centerline rumble strip, a one-way yield, 90 additional signs, and reduction to a default speed of 30 km/h is another.

Additionally, throughout 2020 12 new crosswalks will be installed. At Blenkinsop Road and Judge Place, a new pedestrian and cyclist activated traffic signal will allow safe crossing in this difficult location.

Our Active and Safe Routes to School Program partners with the CRD and is a neighbourhood-based, school catchment planning process aimed at increasing rates of students walking, wheeling, or taking the bus. In 2020 over 60 improvements will be made around those schools that have completed the program. These include parking restrictions, crosswalk and sidewalk installation, visibility improvements and signal timing. For example, flexible bollards recently installed at Torquay Drive and Tremblay Drive improve sightlines at the existing crosswalk by eliminating illegal parking.

ICBC contributes to road improvement projects each year in British Columbia and this year is a particularly strong year for Saanich with eligible and funded projects.

Looking ahead, 2021 will be just as busy for road improvements around Saanich. Stay tuned for the full list of projects in the Spring 2021 Capital Budget Presentation and Capital Works booklet.

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Child care inventory completed for six municipalities

Queenswood Consulting Group has completed a yearlong project of creating an inventory of licensed child care spaces for the communities of North Saanich, Central Saanich, Highlands, Oak Bay, Sidney and Saanich.

These municipalities received a $150,000 grant through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Community Child Care Planning Program to conduct the analysis, with an end goal to create a gap analysis for child care services and needs assessment by families.

“This is an important and much needed analysis in our region and I’m glad we were able to collectively as six municipalities take a collaborative approach,” said Mayor Fred Haynes. “I know all of the six mayors and councils look forward to reviewing the findings and action plan to determine our next steps to improve child care services in and across our communities.”

Research in these communities not only confirmed what was known anecdotally to be true, that there is a lack of adequate available child care for families who need it, but also revealed significant barriers to creating to child care spaces. These barriers include a demonstrable difficulty in finding and retaining qualified staff, access to buildings and/or land suitable for child care facilities, and development funding to support new facilities on privately-owned land.

These obstacles, compounded with the high cost of living in the region, cause significant problems for young, working families. There is a chronic shortage of day care that negatively affects quality of life, family budgets, meaningful employment, and local municipal economies.

Throughout September and October, Queenswood will present their UBCM Child Care Inventory and Action Plan to each of the municipal councils. Saanich Council will receive this report September 28, 2020.

For details about the inventory in your community, please visit the municipality’s website:
District of North Saanich
District of Central Saanich
District of Highlands
District of Oak Bay
District of Saanich
Town of Sidney

More information about the project is available at saanich.ca/childcareproject.

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2019 Annual Report endorsed by Council

Saanich Council endorsed the 2019 Annual Report at the July 13, 2020 Council meeting. The Annual Report provides a synopsis of the previous year’s strategic, financial and operational progress.

You can view the full report and previous reports at saanich.ca.

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Saanich requests feedback for the Strategic Plan check-in

Council adopted the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan [PDF - 7 MB] in late 2019 and will review the progress made to date at the Strategic Plan check in meeting on Monday, September 28.

At the Strategic Plan check in meetings, Council will review progress on initiatives and reassess priorities. The plan is a living document and Council will adjust as needed due to emerging issues and changing priorities. You can read the plan and an update on our progress at saanich.ca/strategicplan.

There are several ways to provide your input for the Strategic Plan check in:

  • email strategicplan@saanich.ca or council@saanich.ca by noon September 28;
  • mail or drop off at the Municipal Hall drop box by noon September 28; or
  • register to call in and speak at the September 28 Council meeting. Registration details are available on the September 28 meeting agenda.

As a reminder, the public is not able to attend Council meetings in person at this time. All Council meetings are available via webcast only until further notice. The next Strategic Plan check in is December 7, 2020.

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2019 aerial photo is now available in SaanichMap

The 2019 aerial photo is now available in SaanichMap. Have a look at the new photo at map.saanich.ca

The 2019 aerial photo has 10 cm resolution and was flown in July 2019 as part of a collaborative effort between the Capital Regional District and member municipalities.

You can access aerial photos in SaanichMap by checking them on in the Layers list on the left, or by selecting them in the Basemap selector at the lower left corner of the map. Ten historical aerial photos dating back to 1997 are available and you can toggle between years and adjust transparency by using the slider bars.

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Horner Park improvements

The Horner Park renovation project started in the first week of July and is well underway.

As part of the project, the parks crews are renovating the playground, sports court and central pathway and installing a new youth area, solar lighting (along the central path), a drinking fountain, an interpretive sign and additional looping asphalt and gravel pathways. Close to 40 new trees will be planted in the park. As part of the washroom operations and capital plan, a portion of the park building will be renovated in conjunction with the park upgrades, so that visitors have seasonal access to an already existing washroom. We anticipate reopening the park in mid to late October.

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Saanich increases rec fees and brings back 25-times pass promotion

Saanich recreation centre patrons now have a familiar, affordable option to access services even with the new annual fee increase. As of September 8, 2020, Saanich’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department implemented the 2020-2021 fees and charges increases approved by Council as part of the 2020 budget process. Recreation centre single admission and 10-times pass rates have increased.

Saanich recreation centres also brought back the 25-times pass for a limited time.
“We aim to provide accessible recreation services that keep residents engaged in health and fitness activities,” said G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre Manager Graham Thomson. “We recognize the financial hardships that residents may be facing due to COVID-19. The 25-times pass option is more sustainable for patrons as we balance pricing with operating costs. We also offer the LIFE program as another option to support individuals and families living on a low income.”

The 25-times pass will be available as long as COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect. This pass offers the most affordable price for all age groups:

  • Adult $147
  • Senior/student $108
  • Child/Youth $72

Patrons who are not able to afford single admission or a 10-times or 25-times pass can apply for support through the LIFE program. As part of the recent regional review, the LIFE program’s minimum income level was adjusted to increase the number of individuals and families that can access the program.

Time sensitive (month passes) will be re-introduced when recreation services are able to return to full operations as part of the Province’s Restart Plan Phase 4.

Visit saanich.ca/recreation for more information about recreation centre passes and fees, services available and safety protocols.

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A look back at Mattick's Farm

A highlight of summer for many Saanich children during the 1960s and 1970s, was taking a ride on the miniature train at Bill Mattick’s Cordova Bay Farm. Bill Mattick started farming at the age of 19 and moved to a 450 acre parcel of land at Cordova Bay in 1940. He was the first to use air freight to ship flowers from BC, sending his first 72,000 daffodil blooms on March 18, 1948 aboard Trans-Canada Airlines inaugural air cargo flight to Toronto.

As an afterthought, Mattick opened a roadside produce stand in 1957 that quickly overshadowed the farm itself. Thousands of local children enjoyed rides on the miniature steam train, but the farm also featured a pitch-and-putt golf course, pony rides, sunken gardens, a garden center, and a menagerie of animals including monkeys, goats, donkeys, rabbits, sheep, and mynah birds. Mattick sold the farm in 1969, but continued to operate the golf course and attractions until retiring in the 1980s.

By the 1990s, the children’s attractions had begun to disappear and the Mattick’s Farm complex was transitioning into a retail centre. The miniature train made its last trip, the garden center was moved, and the menagerie replaced with office and retail space. Today, the beautifully landscaped Cordova Bay golf course is a lovely reminder of the farm and attractions that, not long ago, stood in its place.

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Prospect Lake Road Safety Audit

As a result of Traffic Operations and In-Service Road Safety Review of Prospect Lake Road, initiated by the District of Saanich in partnership with ICBC, a number of improvements were recommended by retained consulting company – McElhanney Ltd. Proposed improvements are divided into three categories, short term (up to one year), medium term (one to five years) and long term improvements (five or more years). Saanich has already installed a rumble strip near Munn Road and is working on a number of projects along Prospect Lake Road and will expand the scope of works to include short term improvements.

Projects currently underway include:

  • narrowing the road to one-way at Trevlac Pond near Calvert Park; and
  • installation of a concrete sidewalk from Goward to the community hall on Sparton and improvement of West Saanich – Prospect Lake/Sparton intersection.

Proposed short term improvements include:

  • improve existing signage and pavement markings, and install new signs where needed; and
  • install a speed reduction zone (30 km/h) from Estelline Rd to Goward Rd.

Please refer to the Traffic Operations and Safety Review Report found at saanich.ca [PDF - 30 MB] for more information on medium and long term improvements.

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One year anniversary of the Bowker Creek restoration project

Did you know it’s been one year since we restored Bowker Creek?
Looking at the portion of Bowker Creek at Richmond and Kings, you would never know the degraded state it was in one year ago. The bank was eroding, invasive yellow willow had overtaken the natural channel of the creek and the vegetation was extremely overgrown. Today it is picturesque, returning to a natural state with the greenery filling in and the native trees and shrubs planted along the riparian zone now creating a wonderful canopy protecting the creek and creating an aquatic habitat.

After removing the invasive species, cleaning out the creek and stabilizing the bank, a total of 3,000 hand installed bags were placed along the bank, 655 native shrubs and trees were planted and rocks were strategically placed to create this natural habitat. The restoration project has improved the overall creek health by improving water quality (reducing turbidity), increasing the flow and returning the creek to a natural habitat for fish.

All parties involved are extremely pleased with the overall outcome and look forward to watching this tranquil section of Bowker Creek flourish.

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Electric bicycles

E-bikes make more trips easier for more people! Learn all about e-bikes with the new info sheet from Saanich’s Sustainability team, including how they are a great climate-friendly transportation option, and the financial incentives available to help you get riding.

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September climate reminder

Did you know that Saanich has a Climate Plan that outlines ways to help us lower our community greenhouse gas emissions and help mother earth out?

We also have a handy guidebook with information and tips on climate action at home, including simple steps to create your own personal climate plan. From information on converting to an electric vehicle to switching to an e-bike or even home renovations, we can help move you from fossils to renewable energy! Oh, and you can win a $500 gift card by sharing your climate commitments! More information is available at Saanich.ca/climateplan or you can connect with our team at sustainability@saanich.ca

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Saanich Honours fallen firefighters on Firefighters’ National Memorial Day

The second Sunday in September of each year is Firefighters’ National Memorial Day, a day designated to recognize the dangers firefighters often face when carrying out their duties, and the ultimate sacrifice of firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty.

It was only fitting that Fire Department members gathered on Sunday, September 13 to dedicate a new commemorative plaza and memorial wall at Fire Station No. 1. At the dedication ceremony, Fire Chief Michael Burgess, Mayor Fred Haynes and Brian Catinus, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 967 President, paid tribute to three Saanich Fire Department members who died in the line of duty:

  • Lieutenant Thomas Williams Jennings who joined the Department in 1942 and died on Christmas Day in 1968 as a result of a heart attack while on duty and working at a structure fire at the age of 54
  • Firefighter Hugh Stanley Taylor who joined the Department in 1976 and died as a result of occupational related cancer in 1994 at the age of 43
  • Captain Dann Marchessault who joined the Department in 1973 and died as a result of occupational related cancer in 2014 at the age of 62

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