The Final Nails are Being put into the Coffins of Saanich's Local Area Plans (LAPs)

February 28, 2024

What looks like the Public's last chance to stop this will be at the third reading of the new OCP draft in April 2024.

This was the transcript of my presentation at council on Monday Feb 26, regarding the red-lined additions added to the second reading of new OCP draft:

"Quoting the General Policies section from the OCP Draft:

“7.2.3 Defer to the OCP where there is an inconsistency in policy direction between the OCP and a Local Area Plan or Action Plan”

“or Action Plan” is slipped in with red text.

First this whole paragraph makes no sense whatsoever. If there is inconsistency in policy direction between the OCP, a Local Area Plan, or Action Plan, then referring to the OCP is simply a redundancy. This is logic 101, as those plans are part of the OCP.

If these are all inconsistent, then updating the OCP is your chance to fix the inconsistencies.

Leaving inconsistencies in the OCP is bad governance. It is not acting in good faith to the public, who are supposed to have helped shape it.

If you need more time to remove inconsistencies in the OCP, then take it. Rushing key policy formation is not good governance either.

Slipping in at the last minute “Or Action Plan” is even worse governance.

It is worse governance, because it creates another loophole that can, and almost certainly will be used to override Local Area Plans, opening the possibility of policy derived from stakeholders (that have often included the UDI, a development and real estate lobby); potentially overlapping with and thus contradicting Local Area Plans, which would make it a loophole that can have the LAPs overridden by whatever portion of the OCP is arbitrarily chosen at the time and cherrypicked to override another part, something widely open for abuse and is completely lacking in sense and in good governance.

We’ve already seen how a similar loophole: section 5.1.2 of the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan, was designed to nullify much of that plan in the favour of the interests of developers and has already been used for those purposes. This is also notable in that various people involved with the UDI lobby, including a head of their local branch and its Executive Director were on the Shelbourne Valley Stakeholders Committee, which played a key role in the formation of that Action Plan.

In other words, by deferring to the OCP, when the Local Area Plans and Action Plans are part of the OCP; this is a means of superseding both of these plans through overlaps in them, which is simply put bad planning. It makes no logical sense, as they are part of the OCP.

Translation: the OCP will be used to override the OCP. It is illogical, but it is something that can be abused in the future, if it is allowed to take place, just as claimed conformance to the OCP to avoid public hearings on rezoning, something that the UDI pushed through registered lobby meetings with the province, has been open to abuse and I think it is has been.

Allowing this to pass is the equivalent of putting instantaneous planned obsolescence into local planning, which fits the general pattern. This does not appear to be a mistake; it fits with what the Mayor termed “decoupling” of the Local Area Plans from the OCP, a new form of newspeak, which is in the Capital Daily article titled: “How changing a planning oddity in Saanich could speed up housing approvals”.

Contrary to the title, this is more like creating a planning oddity, or loophole to override local area plans, which is anti-democratic to its core.

I will say no more here as the public are not provided adequate opportunity for public input by design by the NDP and those under them, who serve the UDI on housing policy.

Thank you"


After the presentation, during the deliberations on the OCP update (item F3. on the agenda), both staff and a councillor seemingly referred on camera to what I and another speaker had during public input pointed out: that loopholes were being added to the OCP that effectively allowed the OCP to trump Local Area Plans, despite that the LAPs are part of the OCP; thus allowing LAPs to be effectively nullified through this process when applied.

According to the dialogue between the councillor and the staffer, changes being made to the OCP would give the OCP, "Supremacy" over the Local Area Plans and the LAPs could now be overridden by the OCP. Another alarming conclusion from the dialogue from the staffer was that staff had decided that they should not bother to rid the new OCP of inconsistencies!

If this is not terrible governance, if not tyranny over localized areas, I don't know what is.

This looks to me to be not only bad governance, but a form of intentional tyranny over localized areas through leaving now recognized loopholes and inconsistencies in the plan that override local plans. From the politicians' descriptions, the OCP sounded like a proverbial block of Swiss Cheese full of inconsistencies, which was not only an issue not to be fixed, but something to be left unchecked and that had potential merit as a result!


Note: I was unable to say the following due to time constraints:

As for the Cadboro Local Area Plan, on page 7. of the redlined document “other infill forms as per zoning” has been slid into the document, which looks as elsewhere in the OCP updates to be there to appease the province, which is bluffing its way to overturning municipal sovereignty through items like Bill 44 and Bill 47.

As I have said previously, if you defer power over zoning to the province, you would save the taxpayer money by resigning and telling the province to take over directly.


Note: The following are loopholes being proposed to be put into the plan:

7.2.3 Defer to the OCP where there is an inconsistency in policy direction between the OCP and a Local Area Plan or Action Plan.

7.2.4 Consider OCP amendments for increased residential density/height where proposed developments:

a. Advance overall plan objectives;
b. Demonstrate architectural and site design excellence;
c. Provide a significant public benefit including securing non-market or supportive housing and/or parks or community facilities.

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