Thanks to all of you who attended the second of two All Candidates’ meetings hosted by our two Community Associations. I have been impressed with the turn-out and I hope it translates to a strong voter turn-out on both Advanced and General Election voting days.
Oak Bay residents are a passionate bunch and as I have said before, give me passion over apathy. Questions were thoughtful and articulate and ranged from environmental concerns to housing, the Official Community Plan and development pressure, local governance and preservation of Oak Bay neighbourhoods among others. The deer question was raised near the end of the evening and I had an opportunity to talk briefly about the Cranbrook model (refer to article on this blog).
Related to housing and to development/re-development (e.g. Oak Bay Lodge), the process for public involvement in the Lodge proposal seems inadequate to me. Adjacent neighbours are still upset and request a delay in making a decision pending further deliberation by Council. Some Council incumbents admit that they do not have all the information they need to make an informed decision.
What to do from here? I admit that I have not been part of any of the discussions but I do believe that more public involvement (before final decisions are made) would help address neighbourhood anxiety. I would also ask to see, in writing, the following:
- confirmation from the applicant that the land has indeed been transferred to the public domain;
- a detailed written transition plan for residents currently living at the Lodge who must move during construction;
- an independent traffic plan;
- a scaled model and balloon test on final footprint and height; and,
- details about how this proposal directly benefits Oak Bay.
As I explained last night, until Oak Bay takes the bull by the horns and hires either a part-time or full-time qualified planner, gets on with reviewing and updating the Official Community Plan and reviews and updates its Zoning bylaw, Oak Bay remains vulnerable to development/re-development proposals that may not fit the character and vision of what we want for this community.
There’s an old saying “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re liable to end up some place else.”
Thanks again for attending and bringing your questions and comments. These two meetings have been a wonderful learning experience for me and I have appreciated your feedback and your interest in the future of our community.