January 23 Council Meeting — My Highlights
- A house with significant historical and heritage value is the subject of a request by the owner to de-register the property from the Oak Bay Heritage Register. This matter has been referred by Council to the Heritage Commission for their review and comment, a decision I supported. The owners will be notified of this decision and invited to attend the next Heritage Commission meeting.
- A variety of requests from organizers for this year’s Oak Bay Tea Party was approved by Council, including a request for a supervised fireworks display and an extension to 10:00 PM for closing Tea Party activities. Council members supported these requests and expressed a desire to see this event become more “green,” community-based and family-oriented. Council suggested that after the event this year, perhaps debriefing with Oak Bay Police and Fire depts. to identify any areas of concern would be appropriate.
- Council discussed two items that pertain to our environment, one a staff report on the 2011 Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program Report and one a request from Pacific Mobile Depots LTD. to conduct soft plastics’ recycling at Carnarvon Park. The Mayor requested that climate action become a standing agenda item, making it part of the public record and enabling a periodic progress update. Council also requested a staff report to identify deficiencies on climate action measures and suggested that in the future, a referral to the new Environmental Advisory Committee should be considered. I asked that municipal practices to address environmental protection should also be reviewed and was told that staff does this now.
- New Advisory Committees and Working Groups were approved by Council to address such topics as environmental protection, active transportation, the Official Community Plan review and community engagement. Council members, staff and community volunteers are actively involved in supporting this work that I hope will make a difference to Oak Bay’s future.
- A house on Victoria Ave. slated for demolition but under a 60-day protection order, was back before Council, following a site visit by municipal staff and members of the Heritage Commission. While the Commission reports that the home does have heritage/historical value to Oak Bay (former St. Michael’s School boarding home), the property is not formally recognized as a significant heritage site, making this a challenging protection issue for the municipality. Council voted to return the issue to a Committee of the Whole meeting to allow for fuller debate by all interested parties.
- Under new business, Mayor Jensen announced that there is a revised proposal coming back to Council from Baptist Housing on the future of Oak Bay Lodge. Among other things, the developer has agreed to pay for a qualified planner who will be under Council’s direction, to review the new proposal, including conducting full and meaningful public consultations. Stay tuned…
- A tabled item that has been ongoing since 2009 involving a heat pump, noise and its negative impact on adjacent neighbours, was finally decided by Council. The owner’s request for a variance was denied and he was directed to move it to another location on his property to mitigate noise. In fact, I understand that the location of the pump has not complied with Oak Bay’s bylaw but that the owner and neighbours were give time to mediate a satisfactory resolution. I voted to have the heat pump moved and bring it into compliance with the bylaw, given that noise has remained an issue despite attempts by the owner to reduce nightly operation.