District of Saanich – 2018 Election

October 15, 2018

Dear Friends & Neighbours,

The Friends of Maltby Lake Watershed Society provided all 2018 Mayor and Council Candidates with background information about Maltby Lake, as it relates to Rural Saanich’s Local Area Plan, and then asked them one important question.

Here is the background information and the question posed:

Friends of Maltby Lake Watershed Society (FMLWS) is a non-aligned group of volunteers committed to the preservation of Maltby Lake and its surrounding watershed. We pose this question to all Saanich Council Candidates. Thank you for taking time to respond.

Please outline the plan of action you would take to ensure a natural park legacy at Maltby Lake is realized, and comment on your vision and practical approach to developing a balanced relationship between people and nature in Saanich.

Saanich recognizes Maltby Lake as “possibly the only relatively intact freshwater riparian zone in Saanich.” It is a wilderness of natural processes; a rare blend of inter-connected eco-systems where at-risk plant and animal species rest undisturbed. As humanity makes more demands on our natural areas, Friends of Maltby Lake Watershed Society hope our elected representatives will ensure rare wild areas of land and water, such as Maltby Lake, are protected to maintain nature’s life-supporting eco-systems; to ensure human health and prosperity; and to secure a legacy of resilient, wild nature for future generations.

In its 2007 Rural Local Area Plan, Saanich recognized the merit of establishing a natural park at Maltby Lake, and has targeted 15.05ha for acquisition.

Map 10.2 Natural Park

REFERENCE: http://www.saanich.ca/assets/Community/Documents/Planning/plans/Rural_lap_web.pdf
NB. Map 10.2, pg. 44 & Table 10.3, pg. 46

Thank you for caring about Saanich and running for public office

Here are the responses to the society’s question. In alphabetical order, we first list responses from the four mayoralty candidates, followed by those from the 18 council candidates.

4 Mayoralty Candidates

Richard Atwell – No Response

Fred Haynes – Plan of Action: Proposed by Fred Haynes, Candidate for Saanich Council and CRD

Background: Maltby Lake has been described as possibly the only relatively intact freshwater riparian zone in Saanich. It is a wilderness of natural processes; a rare blend of inter-connected eco-systems where at-risk plant and animal species rest undisturbed. As humanity makes more demands on our natural areas, Friends of the Maltby Lake Watershed Society hope our elected representatives will ensure that rare wild areas of land and water, such as Maltby Lake, are protected to maintain nature’s life-supporting systems and diversity of eco-systems, to ensure human health and prosperity, and to secure a legacy of resilient, wild nature for future generations.

In its 2007 Rural Local Area Plan, Saanich recognized the merit of establishing a natural park at Maltby Lake, and has targeted 15.05ha for acquisition.

A Natural Park Legacy at Maltby Lake: Given the 2007 recognition by Saanich of the merit of establishing Maltby Lake as a natural park, and dependent that there is a willing seller and that the cost of the property is known, then the funding source is the primary hurdle to overcome. To help resolve this, I believe the efforts and resources of Saanich deserve to be applied to assist FOML in raising the funds for purchase.

If elected as Mayor, and with FOML input and approval, I would present a motion to Council that Saanich staff set up a multi-stakeholder resourcing committee to help the FOML identify and secure external and internal funding sources. While internal funding resources are presumably limited in the Saanich budget, this could include a review of options for possible grants and loans to assist acquisition of the park. These internal financial resources would help leverage external funding sources.

In the immediate term, Saanich could assist FOML explore options on the use of the 5-year interest free loans that Saanich makes available to community groups.  I understand up to $230,000 has been available for Soccer Clubs, while previously the PLDCA received $85,000 to renovate the community hall. The loans were conditional on repayment plans but they would allow FOML five years of fundraising to achieve this. The Saanich Legacy Foundation, the Victoria Foundation could also be approached for assistance.

Vision and practical approach to developing a relationship between people and nature in Saanich:

In my platform I identify the use of a Mayors Standing Committee to accelerate the arrival of a biodiversity strategy that embraces all of Saanich. Responding to Maltby Lake is certainly part of this.

Saanich has inherited a rich legacy of parks and natural areas that add greatly to its citizen’s quality of life. Our green spaces host a wide biodiversity including numbers of endangered species. The interface between humanity and this diverse eco-system needs to be nestled in a relationship of caring and protection that preserves this legacy for future generations.

Practically, Saanich needs a long-sighted decision-making process is in place that ensures the political and financial support required to protect and nurture these special green spaces is in place. The tools of public education and public engagement are to be harnessed to continue building long-term relationships between people and nature that are based on harmony with all living things.

To help support this, educators and the volunteer work of the many “Friends of “ needs to be assisted and recognized. The leadership of these groups can be utilized used as a springboard in helping to grow a nurturing relationship between nature and the people of Saanich.

David Shebib – No Response

Rob Wickson – Thank you for your patience.  This is a very important question.  I am in full support of preserving valuable natural habitat of all sorts.  Understanding the link between protecting the environment and our own well-being is one of the most important messages we must share with all of Saanich.

Maltby Lake must be included under the objectives of section 8.0 of the Rural Saanich Local Area Plan.  This plan is older and it seems to me that it could be updated to specifically include Maltby Lake if it hasn’t been done already.

I am sorry, but I am not as up to date on this issue as I should be.  The last I remember was that there was an agreement to buy the outstanding portion of the Lake that was owned by the TLC. I am told there has been a delay by Saanich in proceeding with a land acquisition strategy for their interest causing a burden for paying property taxes.

I am in support of keeping this environmental asset in the public domain so question how soon the transfer to an appropriate land trust can take place.  We must get a clear understanding from Saanich as to our intentions for the property.  If there is no plan in place then a community process could draft their concerns and steps for moving forward if that has not been done. It is important that the District of Saanich continue to support the Friends of Maltby Lake Watershed Society.

I am committed to keeping the urban containment boundary intact.  Most residents of this part of Saanich have made their investment based on the rural nature of the area.  Again, the Local Area Plan now provides the guidance for how the community might change in the future and if there are edits required of that Plan then that process could begin.

The natural areas that make rural Saanich so unique do have two barriers to prevent any fast paced developments.  Both the ALR and Urban Containment Boundaries assist on protecting the rural nature of the area.  However, as our overall population grows, then we must be prepared to stand up to hard pressures for development where it is not appropriate.

There are many other places in Saanich that need substantial property development investments before encroaching on Rural Saanich.


18 Councellor Candidates

Benjamin Allan – To be honest, before your email I had never heard of Maltby Lake, which maybe a good thing. I believe that it is not well known will help keep in its pristine condition.  Saanich needs to work with the TLC and groups like yours to ensure every green space is kept as natural as possible for future generations to enjoy just like we can today.

Trevor Barry – I admit not knowing the Maltby specifics very well, and also that I’m afraid this email may fall off my desk it I don’t provide a very quick response ASAP. so here we go…

Are your folks familiar with the NATURAL CAPITAL [assets] work done in the Town of Gibsons, BC, by Michelle Molnar from David Suzuki Foundation?

I had occasion after a joint presentation Michelle made at DSF about 3mo ago with Alex Boston from SFU Renewable Cities (via my SFU City alumni status) to chat about this work.  It was part of the inspiration for me to develop my #OpenData concept for #smartsaanich as a pillar in my policy platform, and this plank has also played a significant role in my stump speeches across all the ACMs I have attended email/surveys I have received. (so many).

Basically, if follows thusly: Saanich digitise all its information management systems, and provide in open data format (tidy data, APIs, transparently updated methods, machine-readable, user-friendly, creative commons licensing / data sharing etc) for the braintrust of a very intelligent and activated citizenry, including academics, researchers, journalists, watchdog groups, etc., to scrutinise over and also leverage / blend with other data such as future climate conditions, etc.

THIS SYSTEM should include all NATURAL ASSETS / natural capital.  and therefore, if we can “manage what we measure” than I feel like experts will have a much easier time in the Maltby developing a plan that council can get behind.

#ShowMeTheData            #dothemath        #evidencebaseddecisionmaking !

Armed with the truth, it seems like the eco-ethos of Saanich will prevail against its simultaneous “lower my taxes” sentiment. You can have it both ways, when it can easily be demonstrated that conservation of natural capital assets actually saves us in the long run in infrastructure costs.  That’s what Sustainability looks like in the 21st century: data-driven discussion.

Susan Brice – Thank you for ensuring that the legacy of Maltby Lake is kept in front of Saanich Council.

I am completely committed to the aspirations and recommendations in the Rural Saanich Plan. If re- elected I will be an advocate for public acquisition. Because a few years have passed since our agreement to protect this amazing area, it will be important that the new council is briefed on past council positions and sets about to establish realistic timelines.

My hope is that I will be ready-elected to Saanich Council and will then be in a position to advocate for the objectives that have been mutually agreed to. With a firm plan we can approach Prov and Fed governments to share in the investment.

Judy Brownoff – Here are my thoughts around your question. Thanks.

Working with Saanich staff, I will look at how we could adopt Biodiversity Goals and Targets.  These could contain objectives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including a commitment related to area-based conservation.

The first target may be “Saanich will have at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2022.” I see this similar to our commitment to be a 100% Renewable Energy Community by 2050, which Council adopted.

Specific to adopting the goals and target I would recommend that Maltby Lake have a management plan be implemented.  This will look to the relationship between people and nature at Maltby Lake. The Maltby Lake model could be used when reviewing all natural areas in Saanich.

Katherine Burton – No Response

Nathalie Chambers – Hello Friends of Maltby Lake

My motto in life is: “A conversation about conservation without finance is merely a conversation.”

Woody and Carmel made major sacrifices to make this project possible. As a young woman it was the Doris Page park that heralded me into a life-long interest of conservation. We are only remembered by what we leave behind. Many will remember Woody, Carmel and Family.

In a different hat and as a founder of the Chef Survival Challenge, a fundraising event held at Madrona Farm for many years, we also donated. So, I put my money where my mouth is.

As a councillor, it’s simple, I will support the protection of the remaining green spaces, watersheds, parks and farmland in Saanich. “Let’s make Saanich Swimmable Again!”

Preservation is the most cost-effective form of conservation and is much cheaper than ecological restoration. Restoring degraded landscapes and revitalizing watersheds and ecosystems is key to climate action, our resiliency, food security and revitalizing native biodiversity. This is key to a more sustainable Saanich.

I support the initiative to Protect Maltby Lake forever as a park/watershed, and as part of a larger conservation strategy.

In our parks we need to apply the highest standards and land use best practices. We must be the exemplars of all exemplars in our parks, and demonstrate/educate the public on sustainable land management. Including invasive species removal, pollinator and native plant restoration/riparian restoration and watershed conservation.

This is what we must do to protect habitat for wildlife in Saanich. More connection with the University of Victoria, ES and Restoration Program. Increase the fine to $100 000 for tree cutting – replace the EDPA asap.

Zac de Vries – No Response

Karen Harper – No Response

Ian Jessop – No Response

Vernon Lord – No Response

Rebecca Mersereau – Hello, I’ll do my best to get back to you personally as soon as I can – but I am getting a lot of emails at the moment! I’m also still trying to hold down a full-time job while running my election campaign for Saanich Council and the CRD. Fortunately October 20th is coming fast!

I have published some of my ideas for Saanich on the Vision page of my website, which may answer some of your questions. If you’re interested in learning more about me and my qualifications for the role, please visit the About Me page.

Thank you very much for your interest in Saanich’s future and my candidacy for a Council seat and CRD Director’s chair.

Cory Montgomery – No Response

Shawn Newby – Thank you for the question. Here is my answer.

As a Saanich Councillor, I will work with the Friends of Maltby Lake and the municipality to establish Maltby lake and surrounding area as a park. I am not aware of all the steps needed to accomplish this, but I feel that this is crucial in order to protect this priceless gem.

I had the pleasure of hiking around the lake years ago and was amazed at the beauty of the natural and undisturbed land. It is important to keep it that way. We were even able to remove some invasive Holly while on the hike. We were accompanied by Ian Bruce from the Peninsula Streams Society and his knowledge of the local eco-systems was inspiring. I look forward to doing this again.

Saanich is currently working on a Park Ambassador pilot project which aims to educate and engage the public to involve them in protecting our local parks and ecosystems. The piolet program is currently focusing on Mount Douglas park, but I think there is an exciting opportunity to expand this project throughout Saanich to establish a relationship between people and our natural areas so that we can protect them.”

Teale Phelps Bondaroff – Thank you for circulating your question, please find my response below:

A key component to conservation and to developing a balanced relationship between people and the ecosystems in which they live is fostering understanding. One of the first actions I would recommend would be to continue, and expand, involvement of members in the scientific community in studying Matlby Lake. Sharing this ongoing research with the public, through reports, publications, and educational outreach programs, are all useful ways of disseminating ongoing studies of the lake. An added benefit of this kind of research is that it can identify potential and extant threats to the ecosystem, which can then be addressed.

Insofar as long term conservation of the lake, protecting the lake as a natural park is not only consistent with the Rural Local Area Plan, but also with broader conservation objectives for Saanich. We should engage with relevant partners to protect this Saanich gem as a park. Work to acquire land if necessary, and ensure that park use is consistent with balancing public enjoyment of the lake with conservation objectives.

Colin Plant ­– I am a firm believer in the immeasurable value of Maltby Lake and cannot thank Carmel and Woody Thomson family enough for their dedication to this lake and watershed. Thanks are also in order to the Friends of Maltby Lake Watershed Society for their dedication and support of this important environmental gem.

To answer your question directly: I would want to work with the Thomson family, the Society and Saanich’s Environmental and Natural Areas committee to develop a win-win for Saanich and the stakeholders.  I would respect the Local Area Plan recommendation and support acquisition if possible.

My vision for the future of Saanich is one where a strong Biodiversity and Stewardship program exists.  A new EDPA is part of that program and my vision is one where Saanich are again leaders in the region for environmental preservation and sustainability.

Art Pollard – I have decided to answer the question without the referenced document.

I think that Carmel and Woody and your organization have done yeoman work on preservation of an amazing jewel in our Saanich. Freshwater riparian zones should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

As a freshwater fisherman, who appreciates nature and such jewels as Durrance lake, I agree there should be a definite action plan to save the lake and the surrounding areas.  I agree that pressures on Durrance and the multiple uses of Beaver and Elk lake have led to strains on their ecosystems. I rarely fish at Durrance during the summer because of recreational pressures.

By natural park, would it be possible to do something similar to Swan Lake with a conservation centre or we talking about restricting access.

All the involved stakeholders would need to come to the table with a firm Conservation plan and to protect the lake.  I appreciate the need and necessity to protect such a vital resource for the future. I would love to visit the Lake as I have never hiked into it.

Many thanks for reaching out. I strongly advocate for preservation and protection of Maltby Lake.

Rishi Sharma – First, allow me to apologize for the delay in my response. I should have been paying more attention to this important issue and well done to the association, and all partners, for their efforts towards acquisition and protection of Malty Lake and its surroundings. As noted by the Prospect Lake District Community Association, I’m also inspired by the work of Carmel Thomson and Woody towards preservation of this area. If elected, I would like to continue common sense conversations on how we can continue to preserve this area – if this entails a committee, a round table or forum to discuss solutions and monetary support, then that should the main priority moving forward. I regret not having the opportunity to swim, hike or fish on the lands and I hope to get that opportunity in the near future.

Ned Taylor – Thank you so much for getting in touch with me and for your work in protecting this special natural area. I’ve provided my answer below:

Protecting our parks and natural areas is extremely important to me. We are so lucky to call this beautiful part of the world home, but we need firm legislation in place in order to protect precious natural areas like Maltby Lake.

If elected, I will do everything I can to ensure that Maltby lake and our other natural areas in Saanich are preserved and protected for both current and future generations. That means allocating resources to ensure invasive species are pulled, providing proper education to the public about its significance and what residents should and should not do to protect it, and maintain the overall rural character of the surrounding areas.

Thank you again for the question and for your work. I appreciate it.

— oOo –

­­The Friends of Maltby Lake Watershed Society, extend a sincere thank you to Candidates for their thoughtful response to its question.