Week at a Glance (January 16-20)

  • This week opened with Monday night’s Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting and a “Plan B” seating arrangement for Council and staff members, with the goal of improved interaction with the public. The challenge is to ensure that Council members are not seated with their backs to anyone. Monday’s seating arrangement in my view was an improvement over the last COW meeting.  And the new seating plan seems to be going over well with the public gallery — individuals who attended with land use applications gave us positive feedback on what they felt was a more informal and relaxed atmosphere in Chambers.
  • The majority of COW agenda items focused on land use applications. There were also two requests for “residents only” and other parking restrictions not supported by Council but received for information.  I asked that these two issues be monitored for future concerns about parking. There was also a late item (request for a demolition order) referred to the new Heritage Commission for their input. Another item was a recommendation on dealing with opting in or out of the municipality’s boulevard maintenance program, with a recommendation to simplify the process made by the Treasurer and supported by Council, for referral for final approval to the next Council meeting.
  • Tuesday morning I attended and chaired the second pre-planning meeting of the Community Engagement Working Group and in the afternoon, as Council Liaison, I attended the first meeting of the new Heritage Commission, a consolidation of the former Heritage Committee and Heritage Panel.  The new Chair and Vice-Chair of the Commission are Patricia Wilson and Gwen Ewan, respectively.  I believe the new Commission structure should give Oak Bay heritage a stronger profile and perhaps more opportunity to influence the direction of heritage planning related to recognition, preservation and education.