First Town Hall Meeting Starts “From the Ground Up”

Facilitated by heritage consultants Stuart Stark and Donald Luxton, over 60 community members attended last night’s Town Hall meeting as part of the new planning process undertaken by the Oak Bay Heritage Commission.  Once the consultants explained the community consultation and planning processes, members of the public were also asked to complete a Heritage Plan Survey, either in hard copy (handed out at the meeting) or online on the Municipal website.

Asked what they value about Oak Bay’s heritage, here is what I heard:

  • informality of some Oak Bay streets
  • back lanes
  • streetscapes and views
  • trees and urban forests
  • open space and integrity of green spaces and parkland
  • housing diversity
  • walkways and trails
  • natural beauty, clean air and soundscape (quietness)
  • safety 
  • “old world” charm
  • ecology is a link between natural and built heritage
  • allotments

Some residents also identified challenges to protecting and preserving Oak Bay’s special spaces, places and built heritage, including but not limited to:

  • unchecked development
  • gap between what assets people think are protected and what assets actually are protected
  • disconnect between the people and what actually happens, due to information and knowledge gaps
  • apparent gradual degradation of housing
  • funding limitations
  • lack of education and definition of what heritage is

For a first ever meeting, I believe the turn out and response were positive and I look forward to the next series of meetings to continue the conversation about what we value as unique and character-defining in Oak Bay.