Recommendation for Existing EDPA Bylaw:
The Bylaw should be carefully revised and removed from individual properties. It would only apply to Subdivision applications-until replaced with the program described below. What would be left is a science-based bylaw to guide ecologically sensitive subdivision development, which balances development with protection of the environment.
Saanich Communities helping Biodiversity
(Cooperative Community Action for Saanich’s Biodiversity)
Vision: Maintain and Improve Biological Diversity in the District of Saanich by encouraging cooperative landowner actions
- To develop a landowner stewardship program that is based on best science and that works with landowners in a cooperative manner to maintain and enhance biodiversity in Saanich.
- To encourage the general populace of the District of Saanich to understand and improve biological diversity in the district by means of education, outreach, incentives and other stewardship mechanisms.
- To develop a foundation of understanding across a large number of people in Saanich.
Issues to be addressed – develop a voluntary landowner centric program to bring awareness to the following:
- Loss of biodiversity – species at risk, ecosystems at risk, natural ecosystems
- Degraded ecosystems, agriculture, urban/suburban development, invasive species
- Protection of marine and shoreline values
- Loss of urban forest, concern for future forests
- Viability for both species and ecosystems at risk
- Need for measureable success
- Climate change implications for natural communities
- Focus on all Saanich residents, not just those presently in the EDPA
Create an all encompassing program to encourage action and volunteerism to maintain and improve biodiversity in Saanich by landowners and residents contributing to:
- Clearly identify areas of highest biodiversity to ensure they attract the appropriate resources and attention
- Maintain existing areas of highest biodiversity in Saanich
- Take actions to improve degraded natural communities by plantings and/or removal of invasive species
- Provide the means to enhance or protect species at risk on their properties
- Provide proactive leadership on Saanich lands including Parks to maintain or enhance the biodiversity through invasive species removal, encouragement for funding for restoration of Sensitive Ecosystems and promoting action by Saanich.
- Developing community based programs through, resident associations, neighbourhoods, youth based groups, schools and other organizations.
- Work with Saanich staff, Council, stewardship groups, science-based organizations and individuals to successfully implement these actions
- A document outlining scientific knowledge and principles as they relate to Saanich Ecosystems
- Better understanding of the District of Saanich’s inventory of natural ecosystems and species on public and private lands
- Course materials and program to assist in the education of landowners so that they become voluntary stewards on their own properties leading to greater community spirit and pride of ownership.
What benefits will be provided to society and to the environment:
- Improved Ecosystem Services, and Green Infrastructure
- Resident buy in – proactive landowner involvement towards improving the natural environment.
- Increased willingness to plant native trees, Garry oaks, arbutus, etc.
- Increased willingness to plant other native species, shrubs, herbs, wildflowers, native grasses
- Urban forests for the future
- Improved funding and emphasis on maintenance and restoration in Saanich Parks
- Significant awareness and need to manage invasive species
- Restoration/maintenance/population supplementation for species at risk
Create an Independent Scientific Advisory Panel reporting directly to Saanich Council, to develop the science and voluntary mechanisms to protect and enhance biological diversity in Saanich. The Panel is to be created with joint approval by landowners and environmental groups, chosen as experts in Sensitive Ecosystems, Species at Risk, Urban Forestry, Restoration, Marine, and Riparian Ecosystems, and Landowner Stewardship (such as from HAT).
- Failure to achieve the objective of maintaining and improving the environment and for private property owners viewing environmental stewardship as a liability to be reduced versus supported and enhanced.
- Significant losses of tax revenue that is expected with reassessment of property values which have already begun by BC Assessment.
- Significant costs to Saanich of litigation expected under the present bylaw.
Funding: To be determined – for a two year start up with potential funding from Landowners, District of Saanich, Foundations that support the environment, and from other environmental groups. Significant Funding is required by the District of Saanich to show its commitment to improving biodiversity on its own properties and its willingness to lead by example to demonstrate their commitment to the environment.
Saanich will be praised and Council will be respected as a leader for both a public and populace based stewardship model that can be used in many other places.