Saanich Spotlight - Winter 2019

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Season's Greetings from Mayor Haynes

Mayor Fred Haynes shares his favourite ways to celebrate the holidays, reflects on this past year, and looks forward to 2020.

What are some of your holiday traditions?

Seasonal moments and opportunities to get together are really treasured in the Haynes family. We love to walk through our local neighbourhood and experience all that Saanich has to offer. From cooking dinner to exploring local craft fairs to Butchart Gardens - we love it all.

Now that our sons are well into adulthood with significant others of their own, we have really learned to become flexible over the holidays. With this flexibility it means that our sons have taken on some of the holiday cooking – a bonus for us!

What do you love about Saanich during the holiday season?

Saanich is full of holiday traditions and we love being a part of them. Some of my favorites in Saanich are the Deck the Hall and of course the various cultural celebrations that take place.

In our neighbourhood, near Prospect Lake, there is a strong sense of community. We love to be part of local activities and never miss a potluck at our local community hall. Your mayor might even be moonlighting as Santa somewhere this year – shhhh!

You’ve been in your post for over a year now, what are you reflecting on?

Wow, what a ride! What I can say is that the only thing that has been truly consistent is that every week I am experiencing something new, and I love that about Saanich.

I am pleased and proud to be part of this remarkable organization and work alongside the amazing staff who keep us going on a daily basis. My 2019 annual address covers many of the highlights we accomplished over the last year in office and a preview of what lies ahead. It’s available to view on the December 9 Council meeting webcast recording.

What are you looking forward to for 2020?

We have accomplished so much this year and I look forward to many more successes in 2020. Council will continue to look for ways to address the housing supply in Saanich and explore ways to be even more efficient and effective.

Together, I know we will continue to make Saanich a warm and welcoming place for us all.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you, and all the best in the New Year!
Mayor Fred Haynes

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Council adopts new Strategic Plan to guide their term

On November 18, Council adopted its new 2019-2023 Strategic Plan that will guide the next four years. The Strategic Plan acts as a road map that tells residents, Council and staff where Saanich is going and what kind of community we are working to become.

The plan includes 40 major initiatives and actions under the newly created five goal areas:

  • community well-being
  • affordable housing, land use
  • and infrastructure management
  • organizational excellence
  • economic diversification
  • climate action and environmental leadership

“Council is proud to share the Strategic Plan for our term and beyond,” said Mayor Fred Haynes. “We will make steady progress toward the Saanich vision with the initiatives and actions in the plan while remaining responsive to the needs and interests of our citizens.”

Council developed the plan over the last year through collaborative working sessions with staff based on the input they received from citizens through the election process in 2018 and through the citizen and business surveys conducted in early 2019. 

Saanich uses the Strategic Plan to:

  • define the municipality’s priorities, processes, and short and long term plans;
  • guide work priorities through departmental plans;
  • prioritize budget and resource allocations through the five-year financial plan;
  • provide context for staff reports to Council; and
  • evaluate achievement of Saanich goals.

The Strategic Plan is closely tied to the five-year Financial Plan, also known as the budget. The priorities in the Strategic Plan help inform Council’s decision-making during annual budget deliberations. The funded initiatives and actions in the Strategic Plan are implemented through departmental work plans.

“During our annual budget deliberations, Council will carefully consider how we can move forward with the new, currently unfunded or partially funded initiatives and actions in the plan,” said Mayor Haynes. “We must prioritize how we allocate the funds and resources needed to achieve our goals.”

The plan is a living document and Council will adjust as needed due to emerging issues and changing priorities. Council and staff will hold
three plan check-ins throughout the year to update progress on initiatives and to reassess priorities. The 2020 check-ins are scheduled for April 27, September 28 and December 7.

Read the full 2019-2023 Strategic Plan at saanich.ca/strategicplan.

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Do you have a four-legged family member?

Then it’s time to renew your furry friend’s dog licence! We offer several convenient options for our residents:

  • pay for your dog licence online at saanich.ca/dogs and we’ll mail your tag
  • pay for your dog licence at Saanich Municipal Hall
  • pay for your dog licence via mail with cheques payable to District of Saanich
  • register a new dog by calling 250-475-5484

The licence is free if your dog has been spayed or neutered in the last 12 months or if you have a guide dog. You’ll receive a reduced fee by paying on or before February 1, 2020.
Please note we no longer process dog licences at our recreation centres.

Fun facts:

  • Saanich has 7,856 active dog licences.
  • You’re most likely to spot labs, lab mixes, and golden retrievers out and about in Saanich.
  • Max, Charlie, Buddy, Molly and Bailey are the top five most popular dog names followed closely by Lucy, Maggie and Bella.
  • Only six of our more than 170 parks have any restrictions on dogs. All other Saanich parks allow dogs that are on leash or under effective control.

We want to see photos of your furry friends out and about in #Saanich! Share with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Saanich Parks opens Tinker Town

This fall, Saanich celebrated National Tree Day with the opening of a new outdoor nature play area in Mount Douglas Park called Tinker Town.
Tinker Town, located north of the beach parking area, was named by the students who frequent the area. The site is set up to provide a natural play and learning area for school groups. Tinker Town will encourage children to enjoy unstructured play and improve their understanding, personal connection and appreciation for nature. The site was already impacted and did not have much underbrush growing. Logs were added for seating to provide a small outdoor classroom.

Parks staff planted 17 large native trees in the areas surrounding Tinker Town to promote tree planning and park restoration as part of the celebration.

Tinker Town is a key element of Saanich Parks’ Natural Intelligence initiative, which aims to build on residents’ knowledge of nature, parks and the environment.

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Parks staff growing locally sourced Garry oaks for future planting initiatives

Staff in the Urban Forest and Natural Areas Sections are working with the Garry oak Meadow Preservation Society (GOMPS) and other small local producers to help grow locally genetic Garry oak seedlings for future tree planting projects. Parks has found it difficult to source caliper size Garry oaks from nursery suppliers so it was time to be innovative. Staff reached out to different sources in Saanich to start our own nursery production of seedlings.

In 2019, staff collected and potted more than 100 local acorns, which can be increased in future years. In addition, 238 small seedlings were purchased from GOMPS at a greatly reduced cost. These will be repotted and grown to two metres tall for future planting. A further 30 medium size seedlings and 20 larger trees were sourced from local nurseries that will be used in this year’s natural area restoration and park tree planting projects.

These efforts are the beginning to create a sustainable supply of healthy, locally genetic Garry Oak trees to further enhance Saanich’s urban forest.

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Café at Saanich Commonwealth Place

Many of you may remember AquaTerra Café at Saanich Commonwealth Place, as it was a sad day when it closed in August of this year. The operators of the cafe were members of our local community who ran the popular spot for 12 years and were well loved by Saanich staff and residents.

Staff successfully secured Kattia’s Kitchen to revive and operate the café, which re-opened on November 1 of this year. You may be familiar with the Kattia’s Kitchen authentic Mexican food truck, but be sure to check out the menu at the café as well.

AquaTerra always prided themselves in homemade, nutritious offerings, and Kattia’s Kitchen continues this legacy by serving up fresh made (all day) breakfast, specialty coffee, keto baking, soup, salad, sandwiches and mini catering. The café is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so be sure to pop in for a visit!

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Construction updates

Here’s a sneak peek into some of the construction projects that are happening in Saanich! Check out our next edition for updates.

West Saanich Road upgrades – Glanford to McDonalds

Underground infrastructure was upgraded and new bike lanes, sidewalks, bus stops and a cross walk were installed. Thanks for your patience while we completed this work!
Complete.

Haliburton Road bike lanes

We have started work on Haliburton to replace old drains.

Late in the year, we’ll start construction on a new cycle track up the hill, new corner ramps, improved bus stops and new painted bike lanes.
To be completed February 2020.

Foul Bay Road water main replacement

Over 1 km of water main pipe on Foul Bay from Haultain to Lansdowne is being upgraded. Construction is underway on phase 1 - from Allenby to Lansdowne - and is expected to be completed by the end of year. Phase 2 - from Allenby to Haultain - is scheduled to start in February and be complete by June next year. Alternating single lane traffic should be expected during construction.
To be completed June 2020.

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Age-friendly Saanich highlighted in Japan

Saanich Councillor Judy Brownoff delivered the keynote address at the 9th annual World Health Capital Conference October 16 and 17 in Matsumoto, Japan. The two day conference focused on the theme food and exercises: healthy connections with everyone.

“This experience showcased that many cities in the world are experiencing longevity in older adults and there are many opportunities for active and creative aging,” said Brownoff. “Our populations are aging and we need to plan for this in a positive way.”

Brownoff’s keynote address highlighted the initiatives in Saanich that were created to meet and engage aging residents as they continue to be healthy and active in their older years. Saanich has been part of the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Communities initiative since 2006 and continues to design policies, services and improvements to built environments to help older adults age actively in the community.

Read Saanich’s Age-Friendly Cities Project report and Older Adults Strategy at Saanich.ca.

Brownoff also highlighted the new Saanich Beautiful by Nature video at the World Health Capital Conference. The video is available to view at saanich.ca.

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'Tis the season to be fire safe!

Prevent these leading causes of fires during the holiday season.

  • Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, especially over the holiday season. This is due to people leaving their cooking unattended. So it is really important to stay in the kitchen while you are cooking. If you have to leave for any reason, turn off the stove.
  • Heating equipment is the second leading cause of holiday fires. Heating systems should be cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified service technician. Fortis is offering rebates! www.fortisbc.com/rebates/home/appliance-maintenance-program.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires, be sure to butt out in large, deep, holiday-themed ashtrays!
  • Alcohol is a factor in approximately 20% of fatal fires during the holidays. Please drink responsibly.

Trim the tree with safety!

Starting to put up your Christmas tree? Here is a few tips to help you enjoy your tree and help keep you and the tree safe this holiday season.

  • Pick a fresh tree. Needles should not fall off when touched.
  • Make a fresh cut five centimeters (two inches) off the base of the trunk before placing in the stand.
  • Add water to the tree every day.
  • Make sure the tree is at least one metre (three feet) away from any heat source.
  • Never put lit candles on the tree.
  • Discard the tree when large amounts of needles begin to fall off.

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Shelbourne Street Improvements Project update: a street for everyone

Saanich is one step closer to building improved infrastructure on Shelbourne Street from North Dairy Rd. to Torquay Dr.! The project includes:

  • new cycling facilities
  • pedestrian safety improvements
  • transit infrastructure improvements
  • replacement of underground utility infrastructure
  • new asphalt road structure

The goal of the project is to deliver the short-term improvements to Shelbourne Street as identified in the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan (SVAP). The SVAP is part of the Official Community Plan and was developed through several years of community consultation. The project will improve safety for all road users, improve access for pedestrians and cyclists and ensure vital underground utilities continue to function safely and reliably far into the future. 

The overall SSIP will be constructed in three separate phases over several years. Construction of each phase will take approximately 12 months. 

Approximate timelines for start of construction are as follows:

  • Phase 1 (McKenzie Ave/Garnet Rd to Torquay Dr) - early to mid-2020
  • Phase 2 (North Dairy Rd to Pear St) - 2021
  • Phase 3 (Pear Street to McKenzie Ave/Garnet Rd) - 2022

Saanich is committed to ensuring that all stakeholders are kept informed during each phase of the project to help minimize disruption. 
Regular updates will be posted on saanich.ca/shelbourne.

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Climate action update

Three new climate-friendly improvements are underway in Saanich!

  1. Charging an electric vehicle in Saanich will be easier thanks to a new bylaw passed this fall requiring new developments to include electric vehicle charging starting June 2020.
    • Multi-unit buildings are required to have 100% of off-street parking (other than visitor parking) capable of providing Level 2 charging.
    • Single family, duplex, and townhouses will be required to have one on-site parking space per unit to be capable of providing Level 2 charging.
    • Institutional, commercial, and industrial developments will also need to provide 0-5% of stalls to have charging capabilities.
  2. Saanich inspectors are enjoying a new electric Chevrolet Bolt in their fleet, replacing a hybrid vehicle, and will receive five new electric vehicles in the coming weeks, taking five fossil fuel vehicles off the road.
  3. G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre will use much less natural gas for resurfacing the Green skating rink with the REALice upgrade in December 2019 thanks in part to funding from FortisBC. This is the second REALice system installed, joining the Gold rink improvement in 2016, and is estimated to save 36 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

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