Last night over 125 people packed into a standing room only town hall meeting to raise concerns about Ian Vantreight’s proposal to build a luxury subdivision on rural land in Central Saanich.  The audience heard explanations of how the Vantreight proposal violates the Regional Sustainability Strategy and the Official Community Plan, jeopardizes the region’s food sovereignty, threatens to deplete the local aquifer and raise municipal taxes.

“The panel of speakers we heard from tonight presented a laundry list of problems with Vantreight’s Proposal,” said Gordon O’Connor, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Dogwood Initiative.  “According to the CRD’s research that development would deplete the aquifer that local farmers rely on for irrigation.”

Although many of the attendees initially supported the proposal, by the end of the meeting most were opposed.  The audience spoke strongly in favour of protecting the Peninsula’s farm land and rural identity and specifically concerned about how luxury subdivision proposals like the Ian Vantreight’s luxury subdivision will raise local taxes.

“Most people in attendance were very concerned about preserving farm land,”  said O’Connor.  “All four of the speakers clearly explained that the land rezoning required for Ian Vantreight’s proposal will make it harder for farmers across the region to hold onto their land.”

The precedent setting development proposal has been heavily supported by councilors who received significant campaign contributions from Ian Vantreight during the last election.  Although the CRD, the local Advisory Planning Commission and the Central Saanich Planning staff have all advised against the Vantreight Proposal Central Saanich council has already given the project preliminary approval.  The issue will be coming to a public hearing on July 14 and after which Council will make its final decision.