Saanich moves to lock in Panama Flats as farmland

The first of many formal discussions on the future of Panama Flats was held Monday night

The first of many formal discussions on the future of Panama Flats was held Monday night, as Saanich council looks at increasing its footprint in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Currently 21 acres of the 66-acre site is protected, but Saanich staff sought council approval to add up to another 35 acres to the ALR.

“The reason for buying it was floodplain (for the Colquitz River) and agricultural land,” said Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard before the meeting.

“It wasn’t to create a soccer field – not that anyone’s suggesting it. I want to make sure it’s not an option, though. There’s activities that might be nice to have, but I wouldn’t want to be tempted to stray from the principles of our floodplain and agricultural land that are established.”

Saanich’s planning supervisor Neil Findlow advised that putting new land in the ALR, before a plan for Panama Flats is established, could potentially prove problematic.

“Once the land is included into the Agricultural Land Reserve, land use is restricted, and amendments to Agricultural Land Reserve boundaries can be both difficult and time consuming,” he wrote.

The lack of a plan isn’t a major deterrent, Leonard said. While that may be true, and public consultation on the long-term plan has yet to begin, he said whatever uses for the land are ultimately determined, they won’t be destructive or invasive.

“It might be trails leading to an allotment garden (or the like),” he said. “You do the plan based on the ALR. You don’t compromise agricultural land because you think you have a parks and rec plan.”

Findlow’s recommendation to council was to provide a clear idea to staff just how much of the land should be part of an application to be included in the ALR.

Saanich announced a $2.4-million deal to purchase Panama Flats from Island Berry Co. in February 2011.

Public consultation will happen later this year, and will allow residents to provide input on how exactly the newly acquired Saanich land will be used.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Homes fit for royals for sale in North Saanich

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to Greater Victoria

Gold Rush star dons Lucky Lager shirt in latest episode

Brennan Ruault, originally from Invermere, joined the show in the sixth season

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read