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LETTER: Tempers flare over North Saanich OCP process

North Saanich Coun. Murray Weisenberger should spend more of his time “engaging” with the residents of North Saanich than “enraging” them with inappropriate comments and actions.

At the special council meeting, he made the comment that no level of consultation will satisfy groups such as Save North Saanich, who he accused of being opposed for the sake of being opposed, and said “one more dog house is too much for some people and that’s the way it is.” Weisenberger’s temper was also on full display at the OCP’s pop-up session at Panorama when he confronted a senior over conflicting views on the OCP process. The words and actions of a politician should be held at a high standard; Coun. Weisenberger failed on both counts. A politician must have the skills to listen to their constituents; especially when their views are different from your own. You might even learn something.

The residents of the various neighbourhoods that make up North Saanich are very passionate about their community. They want real engagement in the OCP review with the district’s staff and the consulting company hired by the district. All the feedback that staff received at the pop-up sessions didn’t even make it into the staff report that was in front of the special council meeting so council could make a sound decision. Isn’t this part of the engagement process?

Every community within the district is unique. All have different needs, and meeting those needs requires different approaches. The common thread is that the needs of every community and the strategies to address them are best defined by the people who live and work in those communities.

Smart growth is not possible without the perspective of everyone with a vested interest in the community. Smart growth is about building a future for a community that everyone can participate in. The process is not only inclusive and equitable, it also will give projects built-in support and staying power. It is a tough process to undertake and one that will take time. As Coun. Jack McClintock stated, “What’s the hurry?” He also said he would hate to provide the public with an OCP that isn’t the best we can do. I concur.

Gordon Gummer

North Saanich