The three Saanich Peninsula municipalities (Town of Sidney, District of North Saanich and District of Central Saanich) share a natural environment that is almost uniform across their combined regions. This uniformity extends to the distributions of climate, topography, ocean interface, native tree species, native birds and animals etc.
Geographers and naturalists would recognize the area occupied by the three municipalities as a bioregion, a distinct area of common natural features and a common distribution (almost) of plants and animals. Some bioregionalists include humans in the bioregion, others leave humans out. Before the arrival of the colonists 150 years ago, humans were definitely in.
Recognizing the individuality of the three Peninsula municipalities but mindful of the common natural features of their surroundings, a group of environmental organizations active on the Saanich Peninsula formed a coalition (SPEC, Saanich Peninsula Environmental Coalition) to encourage a pan-peninsula harmonization of municipal bylaws that protect the natural endowment of this beautiful space we share. This post, both serious and goofy, reflects our wish for the upcoming municipal election. We hope that voters will recognize the merits of harmonized, Peninsula-wide environmental protection and make it one of the determinants in their selection of the candidates who receive their vote. See also the text that follows the last cartoon. In the goofy part to follow we imagine an idealized Bioregional Candidate for municipal office who supports the Coalition’s view.
Things to consider while deciding which candidates to vote for:
It is important to recognize the rich and interconnected nature of the Saanich Peninsula and the need to work together to maintain it. We need to remember:
- The environment is indifferent to jurisdictional boundaries.
- A healthy natural environment is an integral part of the health and well-being of the entire Peninsula Community.
- The “rules” under which we govern our collective lives as citizens are of necessity compromises.
We are now approaching the municipal election to choose your Mayor and Council on Saturday October 15th, and it is your responsibility as a member of the community to vote. And when you do vote, we hope that you will do your best to choose candidates who will care about the future of the Saanich Peninsula in general and in particular candidates who you believe will support the qualities and actions in the bulleted list below:
- Support collaboration across municipal jurisdictions (creating a Peninsula-wide vision is our main theme)
- Respect the Peninsula’s First Nations while honouring their traditional environmental wisdom.
- Be aware of (and reduce where possible) the impacts on global warming of both current and proposed actions.
- Protect our natural endowment of plants and animals as well as conserving agricultural lands. This includes landscape connectivity for wildlife and vulnerable species.
- Protect natural shorelines while anticipating the effects of rising sea-levels
- Look for ways in which well-maintained passive natural assets can replace or assist “engineered” solutions to land management problems. For example, ponds, open spaces etc. can treat some waste water instead of dedicated “industrial” treatments such as sewage treatment plants.
- Reevaluate the roles of municipal governments in maintaining an acceptable bioregional-wide balance between public and private interests in land management.
On October 15th when you vote, think about how much you enjoy living on the Saanich Peninsula and cast your vote accordingly.
Together, we can make a difference. If you have any follow-up questions or suggestions, please contact Bob Peart (email@example.com) representative of the Saanich Peninsula Environmental Coalition
To explore and/or endorse the goals of the Saanich Peninsula Environmental Coalition please click on the link below.
Here is a link describing the British Columbia rules/procedures for voting in municipal elections: https://www.squamishchief.com/bc-news/heres-everything-you-need-to-know-about-voting-in-bcs-municipal-election-5864935
You might remember an all-day session called the Sidney Summit in the the Mary Winspear Centre Bodine Hall on November 10, 2018. Here is a paragraph from the summary document written by the organizers of the Summit:
“We recognize the need and importance of an active and common approach to the
management of natural spaces. We welcome an adoption of a pan-peninsula
integrated management plan for habitat and environment and call on our municipal
leaders to initiate the conversation between the general public, commercial enterprise
and those advocating for a stronger hand in conservation.”
Sidney Rotary By-the-Sea is presenting a second all-day “Summit”, again at the Bodine Hall of the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney on Sunday, June 5, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Admission for the day: $15.00. Details below. This event is an opportunity to assess the results triggered/encouraged by the 2018 “Summit”.
Here is the link to the web announcement of the World Environment Day Program
and list of speakers to entice you to investigate the offer and better still, attend a day of information and environmental camaraderie.