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Saanich councillors bringing parks investment to the forefront

Investment in park space is more important than ever, according to two Saanich councillors advocating for such decisions.

Couns. Ned Taylor and Rebecca Mersereau submitted a notice of motion to Saanich council asking the district to start saving money annually for parks acquisition, beginning with $750,000 in 2022 – a sum it calls for being increased in subsequent years.

Such an approach is needed because density will only continue to increase in Saanich over the next 10 years, Taylor said, especially in the Shelbourne Valley with the intricate development of University Heights.

The motion will come to council for discussion at an upcoming meeting.

At the Nov. 16 public hearing on the University Heights proposal, council voted narrowly to approve investing money in undergrounding hydro lines to allow for more trees to be planted along Shelbourne Street, rather than simply setting aside money to acquire park space.

ALSO READ: Split vote by Saanich council sends amended plan for University Heights to public hearing

At the time, Taylor said he was frustrated to have to choose between one or the other when both initiatives are imperative to properly address a changing climate.

“We’re lucky to live in this place and privileged enough to be able to put money away for investments in park space – but I don’t want to have to decide between adding big trees or protecting parks – we need both.”

With climate change getting worse and density increasing, Taylor argued, there is good reason to ensure residents have healthy green space available to them.

The public can comment on the upcoming motion by emailing council@saanich.ca.

Megan Atkins-Baker

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Megan Atkins-Baker

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