- Deer Fence to Protect Dear Garden
I voted with Council to approve in principle the installation of deer fencing to protect OakBay’s Heritage Native Plant Garden. The request for deer fencing from Carol Davies (head volunteer gardener for OB’s Native Plant Garden), was made to the Parks and Recreation Commission, to protect the Garden’s indigenous and rare plant species, currently being decimated my a resident deer population of five living on Garden grounds.
There was discussion among some Councilors suggesting that we wait on any prevention measures until a presentation to Mayor and Council, from the CRD Deer Management Committee later in June, related to its plan to address invasive deer populations in the region. I argued against waiting, citing this as urgent in a bid to save rare plants that cannot be replaced once they are destroyed. OB’s Heritage Foundation has also agreed to provide 25% of the required funding for fencing (estimated at about $7,300 total). I am grateful to Parks and Recreation staff and Commission members, as well as to the Heritage Foundation, for their support in saving a significantly historical garden site for the enjoyment of all Oak Bay residents.
- Variances Approved for Referral to Council
A number of development permit/variance applications were approved for referral to Council for further consideration, the majority of which were supported by staff reports. They involved two Uplands properties and properties on Newport, Bowker, Dryfe and Beach Drive.
- Application Process for Clive Drive Proposal Continues
I voted with Council to continue to move the application process ahead for the Clive Drive re-development proposal that has been under consideration by neighbours, nearby residents, municipal staff and Council since last fall. You will recall that the proposal initially caused some controversy because of a number of elements, chief among them the massing, setbacks and parking concerns identified by the Clive Drive neighbourhood. During the last few months, at the request of neighbours, residents have been working with the developer to find common ground on modifications to the project that would be acceptable to the neighbourhood (the Clive Consensus model).
At the same time, I continued to advocate for professional planning expertise to assist the municipality in dealing with this and other major land use applications — my persistence appears to have paid off. An appointment was made in April of well respected and well qualified planner and OB resident, Hope Burns. Ms. Burns has been hired on a temporary contract specifically to assist Oak Bay with the Clive proposal and the Official Community Plan renewal. Needless to say, I am very pleased — Ms. Burns brings much needed planning experience to Oak Bay, reflected in her comprehensive and thoughtful staff report related to the Clive project.
As a result of the staff report and my input on minor wording changes to Option 2 of Ms. Burns’ recommendations to Council, Councilor Kevin Murdoch made a motion (which I seconded) to adopt Option 2, that will continue the process by staff, of consultation with the developer and Clive Drive neighbourhood. Goals are to find consensus on modifications to the project that reduce its impact on adjacent neighbours, and mitigate specific concerns that include massing, setbacks, green space, parking and traffic congestion. The motion passed unanimously. Stay tuned…
Next Council Meeting: May 27 in Council Chambers at 7:30.
Please don’t forget to attend the first OCP Renewal Community Open House, on May 25, Windsor Park Pavilion, 1:00 – 4:00 PM. Hoping to see you there!