Developers take bold shot at Saanich with sign
The owners of longstanding Saanich company Islands West Produce have taken a cheeky shot at city hall.
After a five-year process to develop the family property, brothers Ian and Wayne Fatt made the decision to erect a sign on 4227 Dieppe Rd. that says, among other things, to develop in Langford instead of Saanich.
“We made the sign because we’re pissed off,” Ian Fatt said. “No [builder or developer] wants to open their mouth to criticize Saanich because they have to continue to work with people [at municipal hall] to get a permit.”
In 2011 the Fatts submitted the original plan to Saanich to rebuild their facility and to rezone a portion of the property to develop 33 townhouses and eight single family homes. The permits for those 41 homes are now in place, with construction on the way, but they are still waiting for a building permit for the new 44,000 square-foot facility.
The sign in front of the Dieppe Road property says, in part, “This extremely lengthy process is mostly due to Saanich’s inability to process a rezoning and permit application in a timely fashion. It has taken almost six months for a building permit alone. If you are thinking of doing business in or with the municipality of Saanich, start young or go to Langford.”
At times throughout the past five-and-a-half years the brothers would go months without hearing anything from Saanich. And every time an amendment is requested, the cost of resubmitting the drafts and blueprints costs thousands.
Add in the cost of putting the growth of your business on hold for five years and it’s unreasonable, Fatt said.
“We’re not developers,” Fatt said. “Basically, we [are comfortable saying this because] we don’t ever intend to build or develop in Saanich again.”
V Lounge customer uses five extinguishers to fight fire
Marty Fox was at the V Lounge in the Red Lion Inn to meet friends when the retiree noticed flames flickering in the corner of the room.
“They’re doing renovations, putting rooms up above,” Fox said. “I think some of the sparks fell down in the wall, it was some big flames. We could already smell an angle grinder in there, 15 minutes later we could smell the smoke.”
It was about 1:30 p.m. when Fox sprung into action to fight the fire. With the help of bar manager Brad Service, who pulled the fire alarm and also fetched five different extinguishers from around the building, Fox was able to subdue the fire until Saanich Fire Department showed up with 18 firefighters, three engines, a ladder and two more trucks.
Fox added that the fire really took off once it lit an artificial Christmas tree that was stored in the corner.
“Flames were on the ceiling, they were huge,” Fox said. “I was trying to put out this Christmas tree.”
All businesses in the building were evacuated, the V Lounge, Fox Showroom Pub, suites of the Red Lion Inn, the Jade restaurant and the Red Lion liquor store.
Fire damage was limited, however, water damage was extensive, with the total estimated at $150,000.
It’s not the first major fire at the Red Lion Inn (3366 Douglas St.), which was burned beyond repair in November 2001.
Saanich temporarily suspends EDPA bylaw
A Saanich resident praised council’s decision to exclude his and seven other properties from the provisions of a development permit bylaw designed to “protect and restore” ecological sensitive areas. Council also temporarily suspended its application to single family dwellings as part of an ongoing review of the bylaw.
“I was very pleased our application was accepted to update the mapping,” said Kevin Cuddihy, after council voted 5-4 to exclude the properties from the development guidelines of the Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) bylaw designed to protect what Saanich calls Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs).
Couns. Judy Brownoff, Vic Derman, Dean Murdock and Vicki Sanders opposed the exclusion. Mayor Richard Atwell joined Couns. Susan Brice, Fred Haynes, Colin Plant and Leif Wergeland in supporting the exclusion.
Council split along the same lines in temporarily exempting all single family dwellings from the EDPA bylaw until council receives a report from a third-party consultant and makes a decision on the future of the EDPA bylaw. This provision comes with a proviso though. “Notwithstanding this exemption, if a single family-zoned property owner wished to rezone or subdivide their lots, the EDPA guidelines would still apply,” it reads.
Practically, the exemption means that the EDPA would no longer apply when affected homeowners bring forward applications for deck additions, renovations and additions.
“The EDPA would still apply to a significant development application,” said Paul Thorkelsson, chief administrative officer. This category of applications include subdivisions and rezoning, he said.
The EDPA bylaw applies to both public and private properties and has caused considerable controversy since its inception five years ago. Private property owners subject to EDPA provisions such as Cuddihy have claimed that the EDPA diminishes their property values by imposing undue limits on their ability to improve their properties.
Possible link investigated between cyclist hit and runs
The tight knit cycling community is working to help police solve a case of alleged vehicular assault against cyclists.
North Saanich resident and Team B.C. rider Megan Barnes, 14, was rammed from behind by a vehicle as she and a fellow competitive cyclist rode up Willis Point Road in Saanich. Barnes flew through the air and came to rest in the ditch beside the road, an estimated 30 feet from where she was hit.
The driver, a blonde woman operating what was described a grey-blue late model Dodge Dakota pickup truck, left the scene. The young rider was taken to hospital having suffered tissue damage to her left leg plus multiple bruises and contusions along her lower back and elbows.
“As a parent right now, I can’t believe someone targeted my child and left her in the ditch,” said Sherry Barnes, Megan’s mother. “It’s unacceptable.”
Since word of the incident spread, two other Greater Victoria men who are competitive cyclists have reported that they experienced a similar aggressive driving incident in the area, with a vehicle that may match the description of the truck involved in the hit and run.
According to Tripleshot Racing Team coach Lister Farrar, one of the two men crashed into the back of the truck when the driver slammed on the brakes after overtaking the riders. The second rider rode after the vehicle and took a snapshot of the licence plate, which was apparently passed on to police.
“There is an element of the motoring public that feels that cyclists don’t have a right,” Farrar said. “You’ve got to give your head a shake, you’re driving a one-ton vehicle and you’re going to threaten someone dressed in sports clothes and running shoes? It just doesn’t make any sense at all that people have that kind of road rage.”
Saanich man reunited with his stolen dogs but fears they suffered abuse
A Saanich man is “over the moon” his two dogs are back with him, but fears they might have suffered some form of abuse.
“They haven’t been themselves at all,” said John Heslop, less than 48 hours after his dogs Arrow, a seven-year-old female German Shepherd, and Biggs, a 14-year-old wolf-coyote breed, were stolen from him. “Whatever happened to them must have been pretty nasty,” he said.
Arrow and Biggs were taken when Heslop walked the two dogs from his McKenzie Street home to the Save-On-Foods grocery store on Shelbourne Street. Standing outside the store, a man took a keen interest in the dogs, Heslop noticed. “Something in the pit of my stomach didn’t like him,” said Heslop.
The man continued to show interest in the dogs after Heslop tied them up and went inside the store to pick up groceries. Uneasy about the situation, Heslop snuck a peek but found the dogs seemingly comfortable with the man.
Heslop continued to shop for a few more minutes, only to found them missing when he left the store. A woman told him that she had seen the man with his two dogs running away from the store, tripping along the way, at one stage.
Heslop was devastated. “It’s like thinking your children have been kidnapped and you will never seen them again,” he said.
Later that night Heslop received a call from a man in the Broadmead area, who found a stray dog which turned out to be Biggs. University of Victoria staff later found Arrow tied up near the MacLaurin Building. Following a joyful reunion, the two animals returned to their sombre state, sleeping for hours.
LETTER: Reader witnesses man take handful of dog poop bags
John Davies of North Saanich wrote a letter to the editor at Saanich News about a recent trip to Broadmead Village shopping centre. Whilst there, I saw something extremely disappointing. A lot is said about irresponsible dog owners across the CRD. It’s usually about them letting their dogs run without control or letting them poop just where they want and then leaving the area without picking it up.
Today I saw an example which demonstrated, to my mind shocking selfishness, and maybe a reason why we see so much dog poop around. Just before 12.50.pm. a man with quite a large dog walked up to a poop bag dispenser on the store wall and stood there for about five minutes whilst he pulled stream after stream of bags from the dispenser. He only stopped to stuff them into his pockets before pulling streams more out of the dispenser and filling other pockets. He didn’t stop until he had no more room in his pockets.
To me, it was a disgustingly selfish sight, showing no thought for anyone else who might have needed one or two because, although they buy their own, they have maybe used them up whilst out. I managed to catch this man on camera on one of his greedy, selfish acts.