Highlights and My Return to the Blog


Hello everyone and I am back from a short break in sunny Hawaii.  We visited the Big Island and it was truly an amazing adventure.

The Big Island has eleven micro-climates and landing at Kona must be similar to landing on the moon.  The volcanic landscape is stunning, stark and beautiful all at the same time.  We stayed at Waikaloa on the west coast where rainfall is minimal, compared to Hilo on the east coast.

Vancouver Island and the Big Island of Hawaii have challenges in common, such as transportation, infrastructure, development, adequate housing and affordability.  But unlike Vancouver Island, the Big Island continues to expand its land base because of continuous volcanic activity and lava flow.

Hydro costs are phenomenal, at about $800 a month for an average home.  The Island utilizes two primary technologies, solar power and oil to provide electricity.  Needless to say, everyone is aware of the importance of conservation given such high utility bills.

The Island has about 150,000 local residents and is less congested and more rural than other islands in the chain.  The Island is also an international star in astronomy, with mountainous volcanic terrain that reaches heights of nearly 13,000 feet.  International cooperation drives leading space science through the installation of huge observatories at the Mauna Kea Volcano, representing such countries as Canada and France, to name just a few.  Anyone who is anyone in space science, studies and conducts research on the Big Island at these international observatories.

When I visited the observatory at Mauna Kea, I also managed to share information about Oak Bay’s newly designated Urban Star Park at Cattle Point.  Two Islands, two marine communities, two very different landscapes but, many things in common.  I recommend a visit to the Big Island of Hawaii.

  • Oak Bay Welcomes a New Fire Chief and Says Good Bye to Gerry Adam

Gerry Adam, longtime Chief of the Oak Bay Fire Department, retired on April 30, 2013.  Gerry served our community for 28 years and was born, raised, educated, worked and lived in Oak Bay for most of his life.  Gerry built a fine department and organization and we are grateful for his exemplary contribution to our public safety and well being.  Congratulations to you Gerry and Jan on your retirement and you will be greatly missed.

On May 1st, we welcomed our new Fire Chief Dave Cockel.  Dave has served Oak Bay in the capacity of Deputy Fire Chief for many  years and continues the legacy of public service excellence as our new Chief of the Oak Bay Fire Department.  We wish Dave well as he assumes his new position and I look forward to working with him.

  • Planning Expertise Comes to Oak Bay

In my absence on holiday, Mayor and Council voted to support the recommendation of interim CAO Gary Nason, to hire for the first time in Oak Bay, a qualified planner on a part-time basis, to assist us with land use decision-making on the Clive Drive proposal and to help guide the internal work of the OCP renewal process.

Needless to say, I am very pleased with this decision and as a colleague said to me later, despite my absence when the decision was made, “your presence filled the room.”  Everyone knows my advocacy over the last year and a half related to getting some qualified planning expertise for Oak Bay.  We need to manage the change that faces us rather than having the change manage us.

Some will argue that my support for qualified planning signals my support for densification and fundamental change to what we value about Oak Bay.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have consistently supported the need for planning expertise in Oak Bay because I know what can happen when a community is not adequately prepared to deal with land use changes that accompany growth, no matter how modest that growth.

Hope Burns, Oak Bay resident and award-winning former Director of Planning for Central Saanich, joins Oak Bay on a part-time basis.  Welcome Hope.

  • Next Council Meeting Is On May 13, 2013