Sandown Agricultural Lands
The Sandown Agricultural Lands, formerly part of the Sandown Racetrack, were transferred to the District in 2017 to be used as a community asset. The District’s vision is for the 83 acres to be used for sustainable food production for the benefit of the region. The District is currently seeking a suitable, long-term operator for the lands in line with this vision.
Search for an Operator
The District began its search for a suitable, long-term operator in 2019 with a Request for Expressions of Interests (RFEI). The RFEI invited applicants with demonstrated experience in agriculture, agricultural business and community activities related to agriculture to respond. Two proposals were received by the May 2019 deadline. The RFEI process was re-opened to extend the opportunity for response to the end of August 2019, resulting in one re-submission and three additional proposals.
On October 28, 2019, Council considered the responses to the RFEI, as well as other options for use of the lands. (View summaries of the RFEI responses and other options in the October staff report). Council directed staff to request proposals from two of the proponents: the Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture and John Upward (agent for the proponents). All other RFEI responses were removed from consideration.
A Request for Proposal will be provided to the two proponents in January 2020 with a deadline of late February 2020 for responses.
About the Sandown Property
Prior to being subdivided, the Sandown property ran along the north side of Glamorgan Road between McDonald Park Road and Littlewood Road. The land was used for farming until 1955 when the Sandown Racetrack was opened. The last races were held in 2005. In 2011, the owners declared that the existing operations were no longer economically viable, and they expressed interest rezoning the 95 acres of land.
Rezoning & Transfer of Lands
The rezoning application, submitted in 2011, involved subdividing the land. The parcel fronting McDonald Park Road would be removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and converted into commercial development. The remaining 83 acres of land would remain in the ALR and be transferred to the District to be used as a community asset. In order to ensure no net loss of land in the ALR, the District would provide 12 acres of municipal land to be added to the ALR.
In November 2011, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) granted conditional approval to remove the 12 acres of land in exchange for including the 12 acres of municipal land. A key condition for approval was the development and implementation of a site drainage and agricultural reclamation plan.
In 2014, the Official Community Plan was amended to allow for the commercial development and the rezoning was adopted.
In 2017, the Agricultural Reclamation and Drainage Plan was completed, the site was subdivided and the 83 acre agricultural parcel was transferred to the District.
In 2019, work to reclaim the site to general agricultural status was completed.
Sandown Consultation and Transition Team Report
In 2015 – 16, the District engaged the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CRFAIR) to consult with the local community on their vision and priorities for the Sandown lands. The 2016 CRFAIR report, Vision Sandown: What We Heard, summarized engagement with over 500 community members. It provides a vision and values for the land and next steps to guide development of the land as a community agriculture resource.
In 2018, CRFAIR was contracted to form a Sandown Transition Team to create a transition plan for the Sandown Agricultural Lands. The Team delivered the plan, entitled “Sandown Community Farm”. The following recommendations from the team were reviewed by Council but have not been formally approved.
Documents and Reports
- Closure of Reclamation Activities Letter
- RFEI – Long Term Operator Sandown Lands
- Staff Report (Mar 11/19): Sandown Agricultural Lands – Request for Expressions of Interest
- Staff Report (Jun 18/19): Sandown Agricultural Lands – Long Term Operation
- Staff Report (Aug 13/19): Sandown Agricultural Lands – Long Term Operator Evaluation Criteria
- Staff Report (Sep 9/19): Sandown Agricultural Lands – Long Term Operation
- Staff Report (Oct 24/19): Sandown Agricultural Lands – Long Term Operation
- Sandown – Closure of Reclamation Activities
- Press Release: North Saanich Council Approves Sandown Reclamation and Drainage Plan
- Staff Report (Oct 12/16): McDonald Park Road Drain and Sandown Drainage
- Staff Report (Jan 4/17): Sandown Buildings