BLENKINSOP VALLEY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
PO Box 30063, 3989 Quadra St., Victoria BC, V8X 5E1
250-477-8539

 

February 2011 Newsletter

Dear BVCA members,

Since our last newsletter, the BVCA directors met on Jan 19, 2011 and February 16, 2011. We hope you find the following items of interest:

Meeting with the South Saanich MLA

Lana Popham met with the BVCA directors in January. She was asked to provide an update on the Farm Tax situation. Release of the report of the committee which was chaired by Mayor Leonard is expected in the next two months. Saanich was used as a test area for the new policies and the Assessment Authority has acknowledged that the process could have been handled in a better manner.

Apparently the present farming income threshold for the farming tax benefits will be maintained at the same level for this year. It is expected that income derived from value-added activities related to goods produced on a farm will be included in the farm income for determining the eligibility of farm status.

Lana mentioned that the Agriculture Land Commission is not sufficiently funded to fulfill its dual mandate of protecting farm land and promoting farming. There is support to increase this funding.

There is support to develop an Agriculture Council to promote farming policies.

There was also discussion about the need to preserve farm land through the development of farm land banks. Some concern was expressed about agricultural land losing its agricultural potential through subdividing it into smaller parcels.

Propane Cannons

As far as the BVCA is aware, a date has not yet been set for the Farm Industrial Review Board hearing about the use of propane cannons in the Blenkinsop Valley.

At a meeting of stakeholders hosted by the BVCA suggestions arose regarding good-neighbour  policies for bird predation. The BVCA would like the encouragement of such policies to be part of its position on this issue. The BVCA has written to the farm owners about this. In response, the farm owners have indicated such policies are in their plans and include a review of the farm by experts, an open house for neighbours and the development of an interactive web site.

Broadmead Area Covenants

The Broadmead Area Residents Association (BARA) has been asked by some property owners living adjacent to Broadmead to take responsibility for enforcing the covenants on those properties. Some of these properties are in an area jointly represented by BARA and the BVCA. These covenants, in many cases, are very similar to the Broadmead covenants. BARA would like to have a memorandum of understanding with the BVCA which indicates that BARA will undertake the covenant management function for those homes. The BVCA directors agreed with doing this. It is understood that BARA needs to come to an agreement with others before this plan will be undertaken.

 

Recognition of Blenkinsop Valley History

The municipality is no longer planning to designate Blenkinsop Road as a heritage road but the municipality would like to recognize the history of the Blenkinsop Valley. Jane Evans of the Saanich Planning department met with the BVCA directors on Feb. 16 to discuss the present plans.

When road upgrades are required, such as for safety reasons, the engineering department will consult the Blenkinsop Local Area Plan and the Official Community Plan to construct the upgrades in a way which is consistent with those plans.

As well, three projects have been proposed to recognize heritage values in the Blenkinsop Valley:

i) to install new street sign blades which have agricultural graphics on them. The graphics will likely differ on each sign but the proposal is to have them depict farm activities, crops or animals.

ii) to apply graphic wraps to electrical or traffic signal kiosks. The graphics could consist of historical Blenkinsop Valley scenes taken from photographs.

iii) to install gateway signs at the North and South ends of the valley (similar to the Mt Doug Parkway sign near Royal Oak Dr. and Blenkinsop Rd) and interpretive signs installed at sites within the valley.

Saanich is hoping to proceed with these plans as soon as this summer.

The directors felt very supportive of these projects.

AGM

The BVCA AGM has been arranged for 7 PM on March 29 at the Cordova Bay Elementary School (5238 Cordova Bay Rd).

We plan to give an update on the use of propane cannons in the Blenkinsop Valley.

Also, we are expecting to have a speaker from the Victoria Natural History Society talking about the significance of the Blenkinsop Valley for birds and Nathalie Chambers, who is a founding member of the BVCA, will describe The Land Conservancy’s pollinator enhancement project and how “Bringing the Bee's Back can be as simple as 1.2.3...”.

Environmental Development Permit Areas

Saanich is considering a proposal to create “Environmental Development Permit Areas” which are intended to “protect the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity”. It would protect such things as sensitive plants, wildlife, wetlands, watercourses and marine systems.

The proposal includes a list of exemptions including such things as agricultural use, removing dangerous trees, maintenance of existing landscapes and stabilizing slopes where required.

Harmonized Storm Water Regulations

Saanich is considering a proposal to harmonize the storm water regulations. There are presently two sets of regulations governing storm water management. It is proposed that these regulations be harmonized into one set which it is expected will improve storm water requirements and sediment and erosion control standards at the building permit stage.

 

The BVCA directors welcome comments and questions from our members. These can be submitted by e-mail to info@bvcanews.com or by phoning 250-477-8539.

 

With thanks,

The BVCA directors

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