The Saanich News reported Saanich staff is working on a biodiversity strategy for consideration by council sometime this spring. The strategy will likely be of high interest to a lot of people in Saanich, as I expect a new Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) bylaw will form one of its pillars.
Because of the probable interest, two things seem to be missing. First, the council has not yet given direction to staff on what it wants such a strategy to achieve. Council should be directing staff on what the purpose and objectives of this strategy will be, and what outcomes council wants to achieve. Without this, staff has no guidance on these crucial matters, and the result may be that the draft strategy reflects what staff wants, not what council has directed.
Second, the starting point for developing this strategy, which will likely be of high public interest, should be a workshop, at which the many experts and professionals in Saanich with important experience in biodiversity, come together to help shape council’s policy on the matter.
My concern is that by having these folks weigh in after a first draft is completed, there will be a long and contentious debate about its contents that could have been avoided.