The Sandown property is the site of a 95 acre former horse racetrack and associated accessory uses. Discussions regarding the Sandown site began in 2010. The current Sandown project was first introduced to Council in 2011, when the owners of the Sandown Racetrack declared that the existing operations were no longer economically viable and they expressed interest in applying to rezone the lands.
The application involved the following conditions of approval:
- Rezoning and Official Community Plan Amendments for the entire site
- Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion of 12 acres (plus inclusion of 12.05 acres of municipal land)
- The proponent entering into a Phased Development Agreement with the District of North Saanich
The proposal involved the exclusion and rezoning of 12 acres of the site at the Glamorgan and McDonald Park road intersection to commercial uses (Sandown Commercial (C-5)). The remaining 83 acres of the site was to be rezoned and transferred to the District for various agricultural related purposes (Sandown Community Agriculture (P-6)). In order to ensure no net loss of land in the ALR, the District offered to include 12.05 acres of municipal land into the ALR.
In November 2011, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) granted conditional approval; to the exclusion/inclusion application. A key condition required by the ALC was the development and implementation of a site drainage and agricultural reclamation plan.
In 2014 Council adopted the OCP amendment bylaw and a bylaw to enter into a Phased Development Agreement with the property owners. Subsequently, in November 2014, Council adopted the bylaw to rezone the property.
In the fall of 2017 the ALC approved the Agricultural Reclamation and Drainage Plan for the site. Subsequently, subdivision approval was granted creating 3 new parcels, which make up the 12 acre commercial site and the 83 acre remainder as the agricultural parcel. The transfer of the 83 acres to District ownership and the inclusion of the District’s own 12.05 acre adjacent parcel to the west, and the exclusions of the 12 acre commercial portion was complete.
Work to reclaim the site to general agricultural status as required by the ALC is now complete in accordance with the approved reclamation and drainage plan. The corresponding Closure of Reclamation Activities letter can be accessed here.
Vision Sandown Consultation and Sandown Transition Team Report
Over 2015 and 2016, 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 83 acres (33 ha) of Sandown lands proposed to remain in the ALR. The 2016 CRFAIR report, Vision Sandown: What We Heard, summarized engagement with over 500 community members and provided a vision and insight into community values related to future use of the lands, and next steps to guide development of the lands into a community agriculture resource.
In 2018, following the Vision Sandown process, Council awarded to contact CRFAIR to work alongside the Sandown Transition Team (STT) to create a transition plan for the Sandown Community Farm.
The Sandown Transition Team Documents were submitted by the STT in August 2018:
- Sandown Community Farm: Overview
- Sandown Community Farm: Background and Detail
- Sandown Community Farm: Resource Guide
- Appendix of Maps
Council received for information the staff report dated October 17, 2018 which included the STT documents. Council requested that staff bring forward options for short-term basic maintenance and short-term land use of the property. Council also requested that staff report back with advice for the long term use of the property and a request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI). No land use decisions have been made for the Sandown property.
Request for Expressions of Interest
As directed by Council, staff proposed a process and terms for the RFEI in the staff report dated March 11, 2019. Council approved the staff recommendation to proceed with the RFEI process as outlined.
The RFEI was open until May 3, 2019, and two proposals were received. These proposals were presented in a staff report to Council on June 24, 2019. At this time, Council decided to re-open the RFEI process until the end of August 2019. Four new proposals were received in response to the extended RFEI. For further details on the RFEI process, see RFEI – Long Term Operator for Sandown.
Council considered the RFEI responses, along with other additional options for the lands, at meetings on September 16, 2019 (staff report) and October 28, 2019 (staff report). At the October 28 meeting, Council made several resolutions, including the following:
- That further to their Expressions of Interest, proposals be obtained from the Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture and John Upward (Agent) for Council’s consideration;
- That the options 3, 4, 5, and 7 in the October 28, 2019 staff report be removed from Council’s consideration; and
- That the upper limit of District funding be set equal to the balance in the Agricultural Reserve Fund less annual District expenditures for short term maintenance.
Documents and Reports
- 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