A group of Saanich residents are calling on the Capital Regional District (CRD) to save dozens of trees on Grange Road due to be cut down for a pipeline.
Former MLA and Saanich councillor David Cubberley made this demand as he, along with a small group of residents, delivered a petition against the project in its current form signed by 380 area residents to CRD officials including Saanich Coun. Colin Plant, who chairs the CRD, and Mayor Fred Haynes, who sits on the CRD board.
Area residents oppose the loss of up to 50 trees including Garry oaks and Douglas firs on Grange Road because of efforts to improve regional sewage. The CRD plans to build a 19.3 kilometres long pipeline carrying residual biosolids from the future wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt to Hartland Landfill in Saanich.
Cubberley, who spoke alongside area residents Irma de la Verde, Robin Duncan, and Susan Richings, said the pipeline should run underneath Grange Road rather than underneath the sidewalk. ‘This is a needless liquidation of trees,” he said. He also questioned the CRD’s lack of transparency.
“We, as a community, had absolutely no adequate notice that this was going to occur,” he said. The community received only a “sprinkle of notifications,” said Cubberley. “From the perspective of the community, this is not a process,” said Cubberley. “This is an abuse of process.”
Richings, a long-term area resident, said the project in its current form would destroy the area’s valuable tree canopy.
The area has already lost large swaths of farmland, and the project threatens to further undermine its character, she said.
She also echoed concerns about the process, noting that she had heard about this project after receiving an email from her brother, who lives in Vancouver.
Richings said residents will not stop until the trees are saved.
“We are very determined,” she said.
CRD officials have dismissed criticisms concerning process.
Andy Orr said in an email last week that the project informed residents about the community information open houses through a variety of methods including Canada Post mail-outs, advertisements in newspapers including the Saanich News, emails, the project’s website, and social media.
Saanich staff were also well aware of the plans and CRD staff are also currently working on alternatives, he said.
“We are hopeful that they are taking this seriously,” said Cubberley.