Saanich Spotlight - Spring 2020

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Spring update from Mayor Haynes

While we are working hard to effectively address COVID-19, Mayor, Council and staff are also working to evolve Saanich culture. At the March 2 Council meeting, the staff report with 42 items of improved service efficiency involving each of our major departments was received and welcomed by Council.

In our Planning Department, the building permit application process has been reorganized to include a new plan checker position. Centralization of the plan review function will aid customer service, and the promotion of cross-departmental communications will improve timely service delivery and plan reviews will improve delivery of building inspection services.

The Occupational Health and Safety Division completed a review of WorkSafeBC decisions pertaining to relief of cost. Reviews of previous decisions has resulted in several savings: the removal of more than $125,000 of claims costs; a $97,000 refund on prior and current years’ premiums; and mitigation of the increase in Saanich’s 2020 premiums by roughly $45,000.

Over in Engineering’s Solid Waste Services, in order to improve customer service and operational cost savings, overhauls of our annual leaf collection program have been made.

A second report on March 2 proposed changes to scheduling Council meetings. One difference is focusing public consultation from Committee of the Whole meetings to Public Hearings. This change provides the public with the opportunity to give their opinion through early engagement and addressing Council at Public Hearings. This will help streamline our development process immensely!

A big thank you to staff for bringing these reports forward and helping to make Saanich ever more efficient, responsive, valuable and cost-efficient to our citizens.

 

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COVID-19 information

The District of Saanich is prepared to handle potential impacts and service disruptions from COVID-19.

As the situation unfolds, we will continue to monitor credible sources and will work with our provincial and regional partners. It’s important to note that Saanich is not the lead agency on COVID-19; we will take direction from the Province and the Medical Health Office.

As of March 6, we took the proactive approach to activate our Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) before any impacts occur in Saanich. At this stage, the role of the EOC is to assist with planning efforts and sharing information.
We encourage residents to visit saanich.ca/covid-19 as well as our corporate social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) for the most up to date information about service disruptions.

Prevention

The BC Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization report that hand washing if the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

A reminder to our staff and residents:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands;
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • cough and sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve and not your hands;
  • stay home if you are sick, especially if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, to avoid spreading the illness to others; and
  • practice social distancing (e.g., keeping a two metre distance and avoid touching others).

As a preventative measure, we are reviewing and adjusting our cleaning protocols. High contact surfaces will receive more frequent cleaning in all municipal facilities.

Credible sources

Please visit the following sources for credible information about COVID-19:
World Health Organization
BC Centre for Disease Control
Public Health Agency of Canada
Government of Canada’s Travel health and safety
Saanich Emergency Program pandemic information

 

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New budget education tool

Council’s deliberations on the draft 2020-2024 Financial Plan [PDF - 3 MB] are well underway, but there’s still time to participate!

As part of the 2020 budget process, Saanich launched a new online budget education tool. The tool provides an opportunity for citizens to learn about the financial planning process while Council deliberates the draft plan. The real-time results allow residents to see how budget changes could impact their property taxes. The tool is available to explore until April 3, 2020 at saanich.ca/budget.

Residents can share their input on the draft Financial Plan anytime with Saanich staff via email at budget@saanich.ca and with Mayor and Council at council@saanich.ca. 

More educational resources

Did you know we also have a variety of resources available to help residents understand the important elements of municipal decision making?

We are committed to providing accessible learning opportunities about our strategic and financial planning processes. Learn more at saanich.ca/shapingsaanich.

Council must adopt the Financial Plan and Tax Rate Bylaws by May 15, 2020. Property taxes are due July 2, 2020. 

 

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Six municipalities partner on child care analysis

Saanich has partnered with the municipalities of North Saanich, Central Saanich, Highlands, Oak Bay and Sidney to develop a community child care inventory and gap analysis.

“I’m delighted the six mayors and councils on the peninsula from Oak Bay to North Saanich have combined resources for a collaborative approach to deliver results for our residents through this important analysis,” said Mayor Fred Haynes.
“We all hear from young families in our communities that the chronic shortage of child care causes significant problems and negatively affects their quality of life. We aim to improve child care services across the region reducing stress on families and the economy.” 

The six municipalities hired Queenswood Consulting Group to lead a series of workshops and public engagement opportunities to gather information about existing childcare resources in the region. Queenswood will work with direct child care providers and families to understand the challenges and opportunities of providing services.

The following types of child care services will be included in the analysis:

  • Group child care (under 36 months to school age)
  • Group child care (school age including after school or school closure care)
  • Preschool
  • Family child care
  • Occasional child care
  • Multi-age child care
  • In-home multi-age care
  • Child-minding

The analysis will establish an inventory of existing services and a dynamic action plan aimed at enhancing and expanding services to families in each of the six municipalities. The action plan will recommend ways to provide more daycare spaces in order to reduce travel time for families. Each municipality will support the recommendations in a way that is responsive and sustainable for their community.

The six municipalities received a $150,000 grant through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Community Child Care Planning Program to conduct the analysis. The analysis is expected to wrap up with a final report and action plan by November 2020.

Interested in providing your input? An online survey open to all residents of the six municipalities is available at saanich.ca/childcareproject.

 

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Saanich wins at Open for Business Awards

Saanich won the 2020 Large Community Award at the Small Business BC Open for Business Awards February 21. The Open for Business Awards celebrate communities that best demonstrate they are promoting and adopting business friendly initiatives within their region.

“Council and staff are delighted to be recognized for supporting small businesses in our community,” said Mayor Haynes. “I’m proud of our collaboration with the South Island Prosperity Partnership and we will continue to foster a business friendly environment for our small businesses to flourish.”

The Large Community Award category is open to municipalities with more than 25,000 residents. Saanich was shortlisted for the award in January. Saanich has been a member of the South Island Prosperity Partnership since 2015.

Learn more about the awards at smallbusinessbc.ca.

 

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New electric zamboni at G.R. Pearkes

G.R. Pearkes recreation Centre recently received delivery of our brand new electric zamboni. This zamboni replaces our propane powered Ice Resurfacer and will be used to clean the ice in the Green and Gold Arenas.

Both the staff and community are excited to have this new "toy" in action. This machine replaces an older unit that was beginning to impact community ice use with its repair, maintenance and downtime.

We estimate our Zamboni fleet drives the equal distance of Victoria to Halifax each year. The shift from propane to electric power will save 5.7 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year. This is on top of the 36 tonnes of GHG we anticipate to save with the REALice upgrade that was completed in December.

 

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Love enjoying Saanich Parks with your dog? 

Please follow our simple petiquette. It’s as easy as 1,2,3:

  1. Pick up after your dog
  2. Obey leash regulations
  3. Be mindful of the environment

There are no designated dog parks in Saanich, however only six of our 170 parks have any restrictions on dogs. All other Saanich parks allow dogs that are on leash or under effective control.

Seasonal dog restrictions:

From May 1 to August 1 dogs are not permitted in:

  • Cadboro-Gyro Park or the Cadboro Bay public beach area in front of the park and towards Oak Bay after 9 a.m.
  • Cordova Bay Beach after 9 a.m.
  • Mount Douglas Park Beach and adjacent picnic/parking area
  • Whitehead Park

From March 1 to October 31 dogs are not permitted in fenced baseball fields.

All-year dog restrictions include:

  • Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary
  • Quick’s Bottom Park
  • Artificial turf fields
  • Rithet’s Bog other than leashed on the perimeter trail
  • Within 50 metres of King’s Pond in Cedar Hill Park except leashed on the chip trail

Dog must be on a leash:

  • on school grounds
  • within 10 metres of playground equipment
  • in the Royal Oak Burial Park
  • on the Lochside Trail within the Blenkinsop Lake area
  • in Cedar Hill Park, including all trails
  • along the perimeter trail in Rithet’s Bog

Visit our dogs in parks page for more information.

 

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Introducing the new 2020 Climate Plan: 100% Renewable and Resilient Saanich

In January 2020, the District of Saanich adopted the 2020 Climate Plan: 100% Renewable and Resilient Saanich.
Through the Plan, the District of Saanich is taking action to protect our community, improve our quality of life, and reduce local and global risks associated with a changing climate.

Plan goals

  • Cut GHG emissions in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.
  • Transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
  • Prepare for a changing climate.

The time for action is now

Transformative change is required to meet these targets, which are aligned with international commitments to limit global temperature rise to reduce severe impacts of climate change. Our decisions and actions over the next ten years will determine the kind of future we, and especially our children and grandchildren, will live in. The more we reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, the more we reduce the impacts of climate change tomorrow.

We need to do this together

Our collective success requires action from everybody, including residents, businesses, community organizations, institutions, neighbouring local governments, and senior levels of government. To find out what you can do, and the help available for you to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy in your life, visit saanich.ca/climateplan.

 

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Shelbourne Street Improvements Project – construction coming soon!

We are one step closer to starting construction on Shelbourne Street!

What’s happening?

This important construction project will be completed in three phases over the next several years.
Construction of phase one, between approximately McKenzie Avenue and Torquay Drive, will start in April 2020.

You can look forward to:

  • safer routes for all users
  • modern utilities to serve long-term needs
  • improved landscape and roadways
  • a more walkable, cycle-friendly community with easier access for everyone

How long will this take?

Construction on phase one is expected to finish in mid – late 2021. These timelines may shift slightly depending on weather.

What can you expect?

Please plan for disruptions during weekdays, such as traffic delays, increased noise and dust and occasional service interruptions during installation of new water and sewer lines.
Wherever possible, we will work to minimize traffic delays. Commuters are also encouraged to take alternate routes if possible.

Thank you for your patience while we complete this important and exciting project!

 

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Capital Works Projects

Looking to find out about current 

capital works projects in Saanich? 

Look no further! 

Our latest edition of the Capital Works Projects Guide is now available. Check out saanich.ca 

for details. 

More information on our current transportation, sanitary sewer, storm drain and waterworks projects is also available on our current project page at saanich.ca.

 

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Bylaw tips 

Did you know that residents are responsible for maintaining long grass and weeds on their properties and on the municipal boulevard? It’s true!

As we head into the spring months, we appreciate your efforts to keep these maintained.

All of our bylaws and policies are available on saanich.ca for your reading pleasure. Check out our local government page for a complete listing.

 

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Upcoming Council meetings 

We encourage you to tune in to the webcast at 7 p.m. at saanich.ca
All Saanich public hearings, advisory committees, standing committees, board, foundation and commission meetings have been cancelled until further notice. Council and Committee of the whole meetings will continue.

Visit our meeting information page for more information.

 

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