Saanich council on Monday night ratified a decision to rescind the controversial Environmental Development Permit Area bylaw.
On Oct. 26, council had voted by a narrow margin of 5-4 to do away the 2012 bylaw to protect sensitive ecosystems on about 2200 private properties.
Council voted to ratify the move by the same 5-4 vote.
Opponents, particularly those who own homes in the affected area, have long argued the bylaw was unfair, overly restrictive and ultimately hurt property values
“My problem with the EDPA is the way it was implemented,” homeowner Jamie MacKenzie told council.
“I felt really betrayed when this came in 5-years ago…, and I support you rescinding the bylaw.”
“Even though I am truly an advocate of protecting ecosystems, this bylaw is fundamentally unfair,” said resident Claire Vincent.
A group calling itself Homeowners for Saanich’s EDPA had gathered in front of the Municipal Hall before the meeting to make their voices heard.
“Its very important to keep this environmental bylaw, without it, it won’t be necessary for developments to need new environmental permits,” said group member and recent by-election candidate Nathalie Chambers.
“It’s extraordinarily important to protect this biodiversity.”
Supporters favoured the rules as the best way to protect Saanich’s biodiversity and shield it from unchecked development.
“I urge you to reconsider, and not rescind unless you have something to replace it with,” said EDPA supporter Julian Anderson.
Many of those who argued for the bylaw to be rescinded also supported working with opponents to try to come up with what they hoped would be better, more equitable plan.