- Two agenda items involving requests for early 2012 capital approval opened the meeting and I voted to approve them. They involved the need to replace vehicles and other machinery to support public works and infrastructure improvements to Carnarvon Park. There was good discussion about exploring possibilities of replacing Public Works’ vehicles with hybrid or electric models but I know from my own research that these can be costly, a fact confirmed by our Treasurer. There are also environmental concerns about disposal of batteries from electric and hybrid vehicle models, nevertheless, I will always support measures to protect our environment wherever possible. I agreed with a request of staff by Mayor and Council to consider “green” alternatives whenever they are reviewing capital decisions related to vehicle replacement.
- Other items involved a request to apply for a Canadian Heritage “Celebrate Canada” Grant application for a regular local event hosted by Recreation Program Services and I voted to support this request; information about upgrades to the Victoria Golf Course crossing at Beach Dr. was provided by staff pursuant to an agreement between the golf course and municipality; a Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) notice to renew our annual membership which I supported (it was noted that Oak Bay now pays a fee rather than a grant to UBCM, which appears to be an advantage for the Municipality); and, a request from the Community Association of Oak Bay, for ongoing community development funding. I supported the decision to refer this item to budget estimates and to the new Community Engagement working group for its consideration, which will focus on the need to develop and apply consistent and fair funding criteria for such groups.
Two items related to two new working groups that have been established by the Mayor to address the Official Community Plan review and to improve community engagement were referred back to staff for minor revisions and clarification.
Two remaining issues for information focused on a referral to the Heritage Commission which I supported and on concerns expressed by local residents about Uplands Park and the perceived visual impacts of very large new houses that now overlook the Park’s east boundary. I recently walked the specific location and understand the resident’s concerns. Park boundaries and interface issues with residential building footprints will be referred to a COW meeting and the Uplands Design Committee for further discussion and review.
A temporary protection order was granted by Council for a Victoria Ave. home slated for demolition, until the Heritage Commission can review the matter and conduct a site visit to explore options. The homeowner will also work with planning staff on such options.
Finally, Councillor Herbert raised under New Business the fact that this year, the City of Victoria, the Township of Esquimalt and the Oak Bay Tea Party are all celebrating milestone birthdays. Councillor Herbert is seeking input from Council members about how Oak Bay should recognize these events (a gift, etc.).
I voted to support these decisions.