CRD And Its Regional Growth Strategy Review 2008 - A Must Read

Further to my article on Regional Growth Strategy, the Capital Regional District (CRD) has released its most recent State of the Region 2008 Review of the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). I encourage all North Saanich voters to examine this report which can be found at tells the real story behind planned growth, development and housing in the CRD and points out the significance of our 2007 Official Community Plan (OCP) for managing growth and development here in North Saanich.

Below are some key highlights from this report that I think are critical to the current debate about unplanned growth and development and the need to protect green and blue spaces in North Saanich, defined by the CRD as a rural-residential municipality outside the regional urban containment boundary:

  • The intent of the RGS is to direct the majority of growth into designated areas (the Regional Urban Containment and Servicing Policy Area (RUCSPA), accessible to servicing, transit and community facilities.
  • The RGS also restricts the extension of piped services to areas beyond the RUCSPA boundary if the intent of the servicing is to facilitate urban development.
  • Rural agricultural land has been continually decreasing since the Agricultural Land Reserve set aside 12,085 hectares in 1972...due to the pressures of urban development.
  • When the urban portion of the region is kept compact, the advantages are that development can be more efficiently serviced, public transit can be better provided, cycling and walking can become more viable and there is better protection for green and blue spaces (e.g., North Saanich).
  • The intent of the RGS is to encourage higher density development within the Urban Containment Boundary, while maintaining lower densities in rural areas...indicators are that the Urban Containment Boundary will be able to accommodate the region's population growth over the next 20 years.
  • A constant land area containing the majority of the population growth indicates that the urban containment boundary is properly situated.
  • The average 2007 house price in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area is nearly 10 times the average wage. The gap between average household income and the requirement to purchase an average single detached dwelling has widened for the fourth consecutive year to nearly $75,000.
  • The establishment of a Housing Trust Fund in 2005 was a key initiative in the Regional Housing Affordability Strategy. The fund supports and leverages capital funding for acquiring, developing and retaining affordable housing for individuals and families with low or moderate incomes in the region. North Saanich participates in this fund.
  • Lower development costs make developing on the rural fringes attractive; however, the servicing demands on the public are high in these areas, resulting in the inefficient use of resources. Servicing development within the urban containment boundary makes the most efficient use of infrastructure.
  • Between 2001 and 2006, the employment share within the CRD for the Saanich Peninsula remained stable at 11 per cent of the region's total.
  • Total greenhouse gas emissions since 1995 and between 2001 and 2006 have decreased, due in large part to fuel efficient motor vehicles.
The intent of the regional containment boundary and the approaches needed to reduce sprawl development and inefficient servicing patterns should be enhanced, including: housing, unprotected green space, resource lands, regional sustainability and climate change.