- Rough Seas for Clive Development Proposal
Despite months of neighbour-to-developer meetings and negotiations, some significant alterations to the plan, involvement of a municipal contract planner to assist with working through the process with developer and neighbours and my support for this project overall, I voted to deny moving this proposal forward to an Advisory Design Panel process. I did so because the concerns of massing on the lot, setbacks and parking remain outstanding and unresolved barriers for almost all Clive neighbours, as they have repeatedly told us.
I supported the process of neighbourhood consultation and had high hopes that the developer, neighbours and municipality could work through the various challenges and achieve a final outcome that would be acceptable and viable for this particular project.
I still support this proposal in principle, primarily because the project:
- is consistent with existing OCP’s “multi-family housing” designation for this property;
- potentially doubles rental housing stock and is the first time new rental housing has been built in Oak Bay in decades;
- provides much needed diverse housing options in Oak Bay that are attainable and inclusive;
- is a quality design and would be the first LEED building built in Oak Bay;
- is an improvement to the existing site;
- fits with other housing nearby and complements existing development on this part of Oak Bay Ave. (apts./condos);
- is pedestrian-friendly and close to services, amenities and public transportation; and,
- enhances our local Village economy by bringing in new residents to support local businesses (the BIA supports this proposal).
Despite all of these positive characteristics, voting my conscience compelled me to vote against the proposal at this time, unless or until the major unresolved issues identified can be addressed and mitigated by the developer to the satisfaction of the adjacent neighbourhood.
As there were only six Council members present at the meeting (Councillor Ney is overseas), any motion made ran the risk of a tie, which defeats the motion — in the end, three voted to deny the proposal and three voted to support it so the motion died. I then suggested that on an important matter of this magnitude, all Council members should be present and, therefore, made a motion that the item be deferred to a September meeting when we are all at the Council table to cast a vote. This last motion passed unanimously.
Finally, I would like to respond to public criticism by one resident at the meeting, who alleged that I was “pushing” this project and, therefore, should recuse myself from voting, pointing out among other things that I might not be re-elected.
To this resident and to all of you, I want to say that I NEVER vote on an issue with re-election in mind; I vote my conscience. I try to make the best possible decisions on behalf of my community and apply the highest ethics, personal integrity and values to my work. I keep myself informed, I do my homework and I do not shy away from making the tough decisions.
As a working Council member, my record as an Oak Bay Council member is strong. This is an important job that I take very seriously. Enough said.
- 21st Century Learning Environment for New Oak Bay High School
School District and OB High School staff, the designer and a representative from Farmer Construction, made a brief presentation to Council on the design for the new school, slated to be completed in approximately 2 to 3 years. This proposal is generating a lot of excitement in the community and having now seen the proposed building, I can understand why.
The design maximizes open space, light and student gathering places. It will be a new, innovative 21st Century learning environment that the School District believes is sustainable and fits the neighbourhood context. The design also meets the four learning goals or “pillars” of Oak Bay High School:
The Community Theatre is a central feature in the design that will seat over 420. There is also a Neighbourhood Learning Centre that will provide the community and school with endless opportunities to interact and create partnerships for such activities as child care, recreation and other educational/social programs.
For the information of residents, there will be a website established by Farmer Construction to keep the community advised of construction steps and progress. The Advisory Committee, comprised of School District and high school personnel, Mayor Jensen and Councillors Kirby and Ney and Oak Bay Recreation staff, will continue to work together to address any issues that might arise during the construction phase. Parking has been identified as a possible challenge but will be monitored as the project moves forward.
The community is also invited to visit the Oak Bay High School website for updates and time lapse media that will show the construction at every stage of the project.
- Join a Global Event to Showcase Oak Bay’s Newest Urban Star Park at Cattle Point
To prepare for a formal August opening and a national press release for the new Urban Star Park at Cattle Point, the public is invited to join in a global event sponsored by NASA, titled “Wave at Saturn.”
Date: Friday, July 19th
Time: 2:15 PM
Place: Cattle Point
Read more about this event by visiting:
Hoping to see you there!