According to a Saanich News article on the recently released BC Assessment figures for the region, “average assessments dropped by three per cent in both assessment areas of Saanich to $785,000 for homes inside the boundaries of School District 61 and $979,000 inside the boundaries of School District 63”. Property owners who want to challenge their respective assessments have until January 31 to file an appeal. Property owners should check the various comparative tools available through BC Assessment.
A belated Happy New Year and an enthusiastic welcome to QCHCA’s new website completely rebuilt by the volunteer effort of our website team and our members. Our investment of time and energy gives our community access to news, events, opportunities for involvement, easier membership options and more. Most of all, we hope it provides new and better ways of engaging with you and the issues you care about.
Creating this new website was a top priority for the Association as we faced increasing publication costs and delivery challenges with the Community Roots newsletter. Together with our Facebook page, we believe the site will provide a better and more timely source of information. We welcome your comments, ideas and contributions. Please email our editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
QCHCA continued to be very active throughout the past year. Special thanks to the members of QCHCA’s Board of Directors and committee members. Their dedicated support of the QCHCA organization, funding, activities and events has delivered important services to our community:
- met with residents, proponents and Saanich Planning on development proposals within and adjacent to our area
- represented our neighbourhood desires, issues and concerns to developers and Saanich Planning on an increasing number of applications, large and small. These include Abstract’s proposal for an 83 unit development on Palmer at Quadra; Westbild’s proposal for redevelopment of University Heights; and the Nigel Valley redevelopment.
- collaborated with Saanich to coordinate two very successful Music in the Park events at Rutledge Park;
- wrote to and spoke at Council on development and land use, strategic planning, traffic-related issues, budget and other matters
- hosted community meetings with speakers on a wide range of topics
- engaged with Saanich Parks on the management plan for Cedar Hill Park
- supported the Swan Lake Foundation on its ‘Give a Sheet’ campaign
Your support of QCHCA has been and continues to be what inspires us to do the work we do. We also rely on membership fees and continued volunteer support to sustain a vibrant, beautiful, engaged, peaceful and sociable neighbourhoods for all members of our great community. Talk to us about how you’d like to get involved . . . we’d love to hear from you!
Susan Haddon, QCHCA President
The recently updated Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) identifies two key housing-related priorities integral to the long term livability and sustainability of the region: 1) the development of policies and strategies designed to promote and support a range of housing types and tenures to meet the needs of individuals of all ages, incomes and abilities; and 2) initiatives to improve housing affordability including the provision of a mix of housing types (market and non-market).
Its five goals are:
- Build the right supply of housing across the spectrum
- Sustain a shared regional response to existing and emerging housing demand
- Protect and maintain existing non-market and market rental housing stock
- Develop and operationalize a regionally coordinated housing and homelessness response
- Create community understanding and support for affordable housing developments
Saanich is one of 11 municipalities participating in the CRD-led Housing Needs Assessment, the results of which will be complete by December 2020. The data will be helpful to Saanich in developing its proposed housing strategy, a priority initiative that was the stated reason for ‘pausing’ our and subsequent Local Area Plan updates. Mayor Haynes has established a Standing Committee on Housing Affordability and Supply “to make recommendations to Council on means by which to improve access to affordable housing within the District”. These meetings are open to the public.
At its regular meeting on December 16, 2019, a motion was put to Council and approved to ‘pause’ the updating process for our Quadra and North Quadra’s Local Area Plans (LAPs). This was done “to enable resources to be applied to Saanich-wide housing needs and the pros and cons of doing so”. The ‘pause’ is for an indeterminate amount of time but likely about two years at minimum.
QCHCA’s and North Quadra’s LAP updating processes were to begin last Fall, according to a schedule approved by Council in September 2017. Our current LAP was completed in 2001 so is in need of updating. North Quadra’s process was to happen in parallel and the Quadra Corridor was to be treated as a ‘special area’ within the two plans. We hope that this is the way the process will unfold once the ‘pause’ has ended.
The Association’s executive is comprised of six officer positions and nine Area Director roles. For details on the Association, our board members, a map showing the Quadra Cedar Hill CA boundaries and our nine neighbourhood areas, click here.
Come work your muscles and your mind with Saanich’s Pulling Together Volunteer Program. Volunteers work on high rocky outcrops, creek side forests, wetlands, wildflower meadows and waterways. This hands-on, inclusive, ecological restoration program has been in place since 1999 and is now active in 55 different parks and natural areas. Teams work with a lead steward in each park to remove invasive species, plant native trees and shrubs, improve wildlife habitat, plan and monitor the progress of ecological restoration work and to educate others about parks, invasive species and ecological restoration. To find out in which parks Pulling Together teams will be working and on which days and times, check here
A recent Huffington Post article suggests seven ways each of us can contribute to a more sustainable future. These include stopping eating (or eating less) meat, unplugging our devices, driving less, not buying ‘fast’ fashion, planting a garden, eating local (and organic) and line-drying our clothes.
There are so many ways in which you can become involved in your community on a volunteer basis. Your CA is always on the lookout for people with an interest in shaping the future of our special corner of Saanich. Perhaps your interest lies in mitigating the effects of climate change, enhancing arts and culture in the region, transportation issues or land use . . . whatever your particular passion, we would love to hear from you. The possibilities are almost limitless for volunteerism throughout the region, whether it is through Saanich’s Pulling Together program in the parks, with Saanich Rec, as part of the District’s Emergency Preparedness Program, with Blockwatch or on Saanich Archives.