The review of North Saanich’s Official Community Plan may take another twist.
Mayor Geoff Orr said in an interview that Monday’s regular council meeting includes a notice of motion from Coun. Patricia Pearson to reconsider the motion that passed 4-3 instructing staff to start drafting the OCP based on five of six themes without prior engagement, the missing theme being housing and affordability.
Pearson had proposed the original motion, which also received support from Couns. Heather Gartshore, Brent Smyth and Murray Weisenberger. Orr joined Coun. Jack McClintock and Celia Stock in opposition.
“Council has to be in agreement in the majority to reconsider,” he said. “If it passes, that motion is effectively live on the floor. If it fails, that motion is what staff will be executing.”
Orr said existing legislation gives members of council the opportunity to bring resolutions for reconsideration.
Pearson said in an interview that she wants council to reconsider the motion because she does not think council had sufficient time to consider it.
“It was one of the options in the staff report, but given that it wasn’t the recommended (option), there wasn’t significant discussion of it in the report, we should have more time to discuss.”
Council’s decision came toward the end of a meeting that lasted more than three-and-a-half hours during which councillors considered and rejected several other motions.
“I feel at that point it was late. We all had been there for a while and I feel there wasn’t sufficient time to really figure out what that meant and what the pros and cons and impacts are.” She added, re-considering the motion gives council time to explore other options not found in the staff report.
Pearson said she is not comfortable with the passed motion because it does not advance the issue of climate change and environment.
“It (the draft OCP) might contemplate those things, but until it is ratified nothing happens and there is a lot of risk in the fact that it will not be ratified by this council,” she said.
Pearson said she is sure that this move to reconsider will cause some frustration among community members. “I would also hope that people would want their council to make their possible decision if council perhaps feel that they didn’t make the best possible decision.”
When asked about his initial vote against the motion, Orr said he voted against the motion on principle. “I didn’t think that making these motions and sort of getting us a partial way there on the fly was the really best way to get us through this situation.” Orr had earlier also opposed plans to halt to process.
“I think we need to really look harder at how we move forward and there was enough feedback from all of council that we are all not very comfortable, just in general, in the approach with this and feedback we have received from certain segments of the community,” he said. “I personally am not prepared to totally abandon things and pass it over to the next term. I think we need to have a little bit more dialogue about how it is we might advance the OCP.”
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