This gas station in the 3700 block of Carey Road is among a quartet of Esso stations in Saanich that will not be able to put up additional signage because of climate change reasons. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Saanich cites climate change emergency, denies additional signage for gas stations

Requested variance would have added signage to four Esso stations

Call it a sign of the times.

Saanich cited its recent declaration of a climate change emergency to deny four local gas stations additional signage.

Permit Solutions had asked for a variance to install the additional signage at four Esso stations in the 3700 block of Carey Road, 3900 block of Shelbourne Street, 3200 block of Douglas Street and 4000 block of Quadra Street. But municipal staff questioned this agenda.

RELATED: Councillor wants to see concrete action after Saanich declares climate emergency

Sharon Hvozdanski, Saanich’s director of planning, said in a report to council that the burning of fossil fuels by passenger vehicles represents one of the largest sources of transportation-related emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) said to be responsible for climate change.

“Given [council’s] recent climate emergency declaration, the commitments to both the reduction in community and corporate greenhouse gas emissions and the District of Saanich’s commitment to becoming a 100 [per cent] renewable energy community, further investment in and promotion of fossil fuels for transportation would be counterproductive to reaching our community climate targets,” she said in recommending denial of the requested variance.

Council agreed, rejecting the request unanimously, with no formal discussion. The denial does not affect the existing signage.

Saanich appears well below its own climate change goals.

RELATED: Saanich falls short of climate goals

The District plans to cut its own GHGs by 50 per cent by 2020 from 2007 figures, but projections released in March project Saanich will cut its own omissions by seven per cent in 2020.

“We are working towards the 50 [per cent] emissions reduction target by 2020,” said Ting Pan, Saanich’s manager of sustainability, at the time. “Currently, planned initiatives are projected to get us to 40 [per cent] emissions reduction by 2020-2021, and [with] additional measures under investigation, [it] may be possible to get us the rest of the way.”

A report released last year found community-wide GHGs will have dropped by nine per cent under a business-as-usual scenario in 2050 — the deadline for cutting community-wide GHGs by 80 per cent and using 100 per cent renewable sources of energy.

RELATED: Saanich well off mark when it comes to meeting goals of climate plan

Hvozdanski also said in her report that the four gas stations had already maxed out their permissible signage, adding that additional signage would district drivers, a point also raised by Carol Hamill, president of Mount View Colquitz Community Association, home neighbourhood to two of the four affected gas stations.

Drivers can clearly recognize each of the businesses as gas stations, she said, adding that additional signage would likely prompt requests for additional signage from surrounding businesses.

“Signage is distracting and generally should be kept within existing limits,” she said.


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