A Year in Review: 2020
As we reflect back the year, the COVID response was of course a major focus for the District as we worked to support the community, and we thank you for your commitment to helping get our community through the pandemic as safely and best as possible. The District's Emergency Operations Centre has been active since the beginning of the pandemic: working with other levels of government, procuring safety and technology supplies, and providing information to staff and residents. The District's temporary patio program enabled businesses to use more outdoor space, a dedicated webpage offered business resources, staff reached out to businesses to provide safe operating advice and resources, Council extended property tax payment dates for residents and commercial property owners and extended utility bill payment dates, and the District moved many previous in-person services to online and began accepting credit card payments for a number of services. The District also launched a Shop Central Saanich campaign to build awareness of the businesses in the municipality. A new Central Saanich Business Directory was launched and the presence of the Shop Central Saanich message was felt in the community.
A number of other important projects were completed this year. Here are some of the highlights!
Saanichton Village Design Plan was adopted
The design plan, which began in 2019, was completed. Now, as development projects are explored, this plan will help guide them and support a well-planned village core. If you would like to learn more, please see the project site. Thank you to all the residents and businesses who offered suggestions and ideas for the plan.
Budgeting and financial reporting awards
In 2020, the District received a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for last year's 2019 Financial Plan. This award represents a significant achievement by the District and it reflects its commitment to meeting the highest principles of government budgeting.
Child Care Inventory completed
Thanks to funding from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), Central Saanich was able to have an assessment of child care needs conducted, which helos us to better understand specific existing and needed child care services. The findings and action plan have determined next steps our municipality can take to support child care providers and understand the need for facilities. The report can be read here.
New guidelines and permit process for infill housing
Our Official Community Plan has been updated with new housing policies and guidelines specific to infill housing. These will help meet our community’s evolving housing needs in a manner that is sensitive to the character of Central Saanich. These policies and guidelines were developed during the District’s 2018-2020 Residential Infill and Densification project.
Improved accessible parking space policy
Central Saanich’s new accessible parking requirements will help to increase the percentage of accessible parking spaces and make access the spaces easier for vehicles with wheelchair ramps. The requirements apply to all new developments; existing parking spaces are not affected.
We're charging forward
Our Electric Vehicle & E-Bike Strategy is now finalized and available to read at LetsTalkCentralSaanich.ca/Climate. It includes over 30 actions to support EV and E-Bike uptake in the District – and we have completed a few already!
For example, in September the District adopted requirements for new developments to ensure access to charging. The District is also planning to install more public charging stations in the community this year.
Active Transportation Plan
We are looking forward to sharing the draft of the District’s first Active Transportation Plan, which will be presented to the community for feedback soon. Once finalized, the plan will guide our investment in key projects and support our work on grant applications as we start connecting our walking and cycling networks.
Home renovation rebates increased! Central Saanich partnered with the CRD to launch the Bring It Home 4 the Climate program. Visit bringithome4climate.ca to learn more, and register to get access to:
• Free Virtual Home Energy Check-Up
• EnerGuide Home Evaluation Subsidies
• Free Educational Workshops and Special Offers
• Plus, along with all CRD residents, access to the Free CleanBC Energy Coach Service and online resources
Plus! Central Saanich is offering an additional $350 rebate for residents who switch from a fossil fuel-powered (oil, natural gas, or propane) heating system to an electric air-source heat pump. Combined with Clean BC’s ‘Double the Rebates” and the CRD’s Group Purchase Rebate, you could get up to $6,750!
Adam Kerr pond
Did you know the endangered Western Painted Turtle (the only native pond turtle left in BC) has a known presence in Adam Kerr Park? The park is an important aquatic habitat, and Tetayut Creek runs through it as well. The District has been working with community partners to improve the habitat and support the stream’s salmon and trout. A beautiful expanded pond area was put in and now we wait for the plants and animals to establish themselves. The pond's fence was installed for safety of park users given the water and hard landscape.
Mt Newton Trail was extended, again!
A beautiful forest path to Thomson Cove waterfront is now complete and open to the public, offering a waterfront access for residents and visitors. The parking lot is located off Senanus Drive.
You can now pay some of your accounts by credit card online
You can now pay your Utility Bill, Dog Licence and Business Licence by credit card. Just register for e-billing and make payments through the My Central Saanich online web portal.
1. Visit mycentralsaanich.ca
2. Create account or log in.
3. Click on your account or register a new one.
4. If you have a balance outstanding, there will be a Pay Now button.
New Tree Bylaw drafted
The newly drafted Tree Management Bylaw is now posted online while staff collect feedback through to January 2021. Following consultation, staff will return to Council with a summary of the feedback and any suggested changes. Highlights of the new bylaw include introducing a tree density target of 50 trees per hectare; trees 20 cm or more in diameter would now be protected and their removals must be replaced; new application fees to recover District costs; no cost to remove hazardous trees; and incentives for retention of trees. Residents are invited to review the complete draft bylaw and email comments to staff through the project’s website LetsTalkCentralSaanich.ca/TreeBylaw.