Saanich council is mulling a temporary suspension of its controversial eco-bylaw that affects thousands of properties in the city.

The eco-bylaw was introduced in 2012 to protect sensitive ecosystems and endangered plants and animals on residential properties.

Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff said the motion to have the bylaw temporarily suspended was pitched as a time-saving measure for council.

“I think my colleague was just trying to find a way where we didn't have to adjudicate these,” said Brownoff. “If we just put a suspension on, for the time being, until we got all the reports back from the independent consultant."

Currently, three per cent of Saanich homeowners affected by it are applying to remove the bylaw.

An opponent group, Saanich Citizens for a Reponsible EDPA Society, says when the bylaw was introduced nearly five years ago, it essentially declared some homeowners' backyards as parks, which it says placed "a high burden on the homeowner while not protecting the environment." 

The entire bylaw is being reviewed by an independent third-party consultant and could be changed afterward.

“People need to understand the EDPA is still in place, and the rules and the procedures under the EDPA still apply to all those people who are within the mapping,” Brownoff said.

The report is expected to come back to Saanich council in June.

Any suspension of the bylaw will require public consultation first.