Friday 30 September 2022

Defining Rural

[this excellent letter by a North Saanich resident recently appeared in the Times Colonist]

In some communities when people are planning to move to a rural community, real estate agents will give them a scratch and sniff manure card.  Heads up!  Sometimes it stinks around here. The importance of rural is being hotly debated in the 2022 municipal election for North Saanich.  There are references to the pastoral vistas, the hedgerows, and not much traffic.  And it’s true, rural does mean those things.  But it also means less infrastructure, fewer staff at District Hall, and (consequently) lower taxes. We don’t need streetlights, sidewalks, or Starbucks.  Why?  Because our purpose, as defined by the Regional Growth Strategy, is to grow food and provide green space.  Think back to the height of the pandemic, and the experience of there being not much produce on the grocery shelves.  With the lack of water in California that will almost certainly be a repeat experience.  North Saanich is one of the last areas in the Capital Regional District whose purpose is food production.  Cast yur eye south down the Peninsula and what do you see?  Gordon Head used to be farm country, as did Cordova Bay, and parts of Saanich.  But this has been eroded by the slow march of densification.  Neighbourhood nooks, sensitive infills and village centres are all part of the game to connect the urban dots.  In North Saanich our preservation of rural is linked to food security, carbon sequestration, and green space – for the region.   

S. Chandler

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