June 18th, 2017

The Saanich EDPA has been nothing short of controversial since its inception in 2012. Often met with a flurry of negative comments from homeowners whenever it comes up at council meetings, the Saanich EDPA can seem excessive if you are unaware of its purpose (Link).

The Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) is a bylaw created by Saanich that helps to protect Environmentally Significant Areas (ESA’s). These can be anything from Gary Oak forests to seasonal wetlands, to name a few, but Saanich has put together an excellent page of resources to better describe the EDPA as a whole (Link).

My biggest concern is when people buy property within Saanich and they are not aware of whether their property is affected by the bylaw or not. Simply put, I would never purchase property anywhere in the CRD without doing a proper assessment of environmental impact, it’s, in my opinion, something every realtor should provide, however, that seems not to be the case in these days of selling over ask.

One of the best resources you can use in Saanich is their GIS map system (Link). Simply open up the mapping system and activate the EDPA region under the Environmental Layers tab. Once that is activated you will see the EDPA areas similar to the image above. This is a must have before I start any project as it tells me if we need to apply for an environmental development permit or not.

The EDPA is currently going through an independent review with changes certainly looming on the horizon. I fully expect Saanich to maintain a tight grip on environmental control of ESA’s, which in my mind is great. It just becomes difficult and more of a balancing act for existing homeowners who are negatively affected, specifically when it limits their ability to make any changes to their existing house, a right every homeowner should have.

We’ll see what happens over the next few months, but I am hopeful we can avoid the pitchforks and torches.