Special Council and Committee of the Whole meeting results were as follows:
- At a Special Council meeting that preceded Committee of the Whole, I supported the adoption of three bylaws related to water rates, sewer user charges and membership on the Parks and Recreation Commission. Discussion on these three bylaws occurred before the Christmas break so adoption was the final step in establishing them.
- Councillor Tara Ney chaired good discussion on two agenda items (Oak Bay Parks and Recreation Commission meeting minutes for November and December that were later adopted by Council). Highlights included: reported success on results of the fee reduction for the Rec Centre’s youth pass program, extended to March 31, 2012; potential for public allotment gardens on school and other municipal properties; use of website updates on service delivery items and family events; need to leverage catering events at the Rec Centre to maximize use of food services and licenced restaurant; and, Commission representation on proposed Design Committee for Oak Bay High School re-development. Recreation staff also provided additional information to questions from Council members.
- Councillor John Herbert chaired a brief overview of November’s monthly financial report from the Municipal Treasurer on water and sewer capital projects related to expenditures, revenues and outstanding projects. Council voted to receive the report.
- Councillor Kevin Murdoch chaired wide-ranging discussion on proposed amendments to the Animal Control Bylaw related to changes to sighting of chicken coops on private lots. Input from a local resident who keeps chickens and comments by Council members reflect support for measures that encourage such local food production and security. Council voted to defer this item for further information and research on issues of required setbacks and lot sizes. We also asked that staff explore what other jurisdictions are doing and I understand there will be further opportunity for public input on this item when it returns to the agenda. But all Council members agreed that we need to encourage such initiatives.
- Councillor Pam Copley chaired discussion on two items, Uplands Building Permit applications for two properties, both of which were approved by Council per staff recommendations.
- Councillor Michelle Kirby chaired discussion on a letter of appeal from Uplands Estates of a staff engineering decision denying a requested extension, by two car lengths, of the yellow “no parking” curb line at the East Gate of the housing complex on Cedar Hill X Rd. Chair and Vice-Chair of the Strata Council attended and described what I feel is a unique situation related to traffic, pedestrians with dogs and vehicle parking congestion, directly adjacent to the UVic dog park entrance and situated right across from the Estates’ East Gate. Resulting poor sight lines affect the ability of residents leaving the East Gate to see oncoming traffic when large vehicles are parked nearby. Their argument was well articulated and convincing and I therefore supported Councillor Herbert’s motion (as did a Council majority) to grant their appeal so that the yellow line can be extended. I feel that this is indeed a traffic safety issue, a view shared by other Council members.
- A resident’s request to repave Midland Rd. to make his cycle commute safer, was discussed by Council at some length, with input from staff. It was acknowledged that surface paving is expensive and that pothole repair can be a reasonable option to mitigating surface hazards. At the same time, I understand that inadequate lighting and poor road surfaces can be a potential risk management issue for Oak Bay. Staff agreed to explore options for Midland.