The winds yesterday left some doubt that our meeting would occur at all but thankfully, late in the afternoon, power was restored. Hoping none of you suffered any real damage, other than loss of power.
- Grants-in-Aid – I voted with Council to approve sending to our Budget Estimates (beginning in April) a variety of requests from local/regional non-profit organizations for financial assistance, through our municipal Grants-in-Aid program. I believe that the ability of municipalities to award these grants reflects commitment to supporting non-profit and helping organizations that otherwise are having a real struggle. Deep funding cuts by the Province over the last 5 years have de-stabilized many of these groups, causing them to seek other funding sources. I supported Grants-in-Aid during my previous Council terms in North Saanich and I will do so here in Oak Bay, provided there is some local focus and programs/services benefit Oak Bay residents.
- One of the larger groups requesting funding is the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL). Did you know that the GVPL circulated 6,000,000 items in 2011? Did you know that 79% of Victoria residents have a library card? Did you know that Oak Bay’s library has the second highest usage rate behind Victoria? Did you know that the traditional library has changed and adapted to technology, providing language services, internet access, e-reading and other diverse programs? Libraries are no longer just about books but are about access to literacy and building community capacity. The GVPL is an easy organization to support, given the breadth of their community outreach.
- As Council Liaison to the Heritage Commission, I answered questions and elabourated on minutes from their meeting, received by Council, with follow up comments from Councillor Pam Copley and the Mayor that I will share with the Commission at their next meeting in late March. Feedback pertained to suggested changes to some wording and a referral for a staff report on the Commission’s request to extend the length of consecutive terms for Commission members, from 6 years to 8 years.
- I voted with Council to approve the Treasurer’s suggestions and model, related to Provincial Grant Restructuring, that will help streamline the process for Oak Bay.
- I voted with Council to approve a variety of Development Variance Permits, with the exception of one application. I did not support a request to install a heat pump on Hampshire Road, largely because Council had turned down another similar request only a few weeks ago and because, while I admit that these pumps are considered environmentally sound, there are still manufacturing challenges related to noise, especially during the night.
- I voted to send to our new Environment Committee, for advice, a request by Councillor Copley that Oak Bay Council joins other municipalties in opposing the expansion of oil tanker traffic on the BC Coast, as a result of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline proposal. I was prepared to support last night, Oak Bay Council’s joining other local governments in expressing opposition but I also agreed that a referral to our new Environment Committee was appropriate. I look forward to their comments.
- A variety of updates on Council Liaison Committee reports were made by Council members that included the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association, the CRD Arts Committee, Royal/MacPherson Theatre Society, the Child and Youth Committee and Active Transportation Committee.
- Calling all youth. Youth will be gathering May 2, 2012 to receive the YES awards, an annual event here. Please contact Councillor Michelle Kirby for details about how to nominate a deserving young person to receive one of these awards.
- May 9, 2012 will mark an annual event to celebrate Oak Bay’s volunteer community. I couldn’t think of a more deserving group to celebrate and honour than our Oak Bay Volunteers.