The draft OCP report paid for by North Saanich taxpayers may contain recommendations from the advisory working group, along with input from numerous community and NGO groups, and the residents who participated in open houses and numerous Zoom sessions. That report ought to be made available to all councillors and the recommendations made public.
Mayor Peter Jones has personally appointed a small select group to “go through pieces of this information” and get a “consensus on what the OCP should be.” He has declared that housing density is a contentious issue and he has stated openly his lack of support of condominium development. He is entitled to have his personal views but he is not entitled to punish those on council who do not share those views.
The Housing Needs Report legally requires North Saanich to address affordable housing, rental housing, housing for seniors, and persons with disabilities.
The quote in the Jan. 26 Peninsula News Review misstates Mayor Jones’ justification for punishment. What he said at 49:33 minutes, was: “That particular councillor appears to me to be diametrically opposed to where the vast majority of the residents of North Saanich said in the election that we need to go, so that councillor I feel is not listening to the public.”
Each councillor was voted by the public and each should be included in the OCP process. It’s not the councillor who is in error, it’s the mayor, who fails to comprehend that 2,226 votes is not a vast majority; that divergent opinions are part of the democratic process; and that he must serve all residents fairly and openly without bias or influence from self-interest groups.
This is not a rift, it’s an affront to our democratic processes. The opinions and concerns expressed by Couns. DiBattista and Smyth at the council meetings do represent public concerns and we the public are listening.