- Committee of the Whole
Committee of the Whole met to a packed audience, most of whom attended to speak to the 2012 Dog Management Report received by Council last year. The report was also posted to the website at that time but was more recently brought to the Parks and Recreation Commission for their consideration, where its 21 recommendations were discussed.
Although I had to recuse myself from this agenda item at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting (I am related to one of the co-authors of the report), I understand that only three recommendations were approved by Council. The report was originally commissioned by the Mayor, and two volunteers from the Windsor Park Dog Group were asked in early 2012 to research, prepare and submit the report to Council. The report was intended to address dog management and animal control throughout the municipality, as well as to explore how Oak Bay could improve the interface between dogs and dog owners and the general public.
The Oakdowne Park issue, contained in the report, created a negative reaction from local residents in that area who did not support any changes to current park use. Residents value the park as a neighbourhood asset. I understand that their concerns were heard and as a result, Council agreed that no changes will be made to Oakdowne.
- Special Committee of the Whole
Council members, municipal staff and the Active Transportation Advisory Committee (ATAC) listened and then commented on a presentation by the Greater Victoria School District, on the project plan for the new Oak Bay High School. The first drawings of the proposed school were presented by the school district’s project team in a presentation that included an update on construction, building design and site design.
Other elements included in the presentation:
- consultation to date with school staff (ongoing)
- planned completion of September 2015
- building materials
- LEED Gold Standard construction includes ongoing monitoring of environmental impacts, especially on Bowker Creek (local siltation system on site to protect the Creek from construction storm water run-off)
- deconstruction waste management plan
- pre-construction survey especially for Bowker, that will be monitored every 6 months
access and egress to the site during and after construction
The School District points out that the entire site is constricted because of the need to provide connected pathways inside, outside and across the site for use by students, staff and the general public. Proximity to Bowker Creek also poses planning and construction challenges that will evolve as construction proceeds.
ATAC’s comments on the presentation included:
- need for more on site bicycle parking
- focus on north/south and east/west connections and throughways
- examination of access points – Goldsmith, the Elgin pathway, Cranmore and Epworth
- width of pathways
- need for benches, rest areas and gathering spaces
- analyze “lines of desire,” areas and routes that people choose to access/use
ATAC also expressed concern for more consideration of:
- dispersed bicycle parking across the site
- use of excess vehicle parking spaces for additional bicycle parking
- accommodation for pedestrians of all ages (e.g. walking from Oak Bay Ave. to Cadboro Bay Rd.
I asked about the possible installation of public washrooms at the site and consideration will be given to making washrooms available at the new Neighbourhood Learning Centre.
I also expressed my concern about the need for better and more regular consultation by the School District with the municipality and the community. I requested that the Advisory Committee, consisting of Council members, municipal staff and School District representatives, resume regularly scheduled meetings until the end of June 2014. I pointed out that this committee is an important link between the community and the project and necessary, given that the project is “evolving” as a build-design construction model. All parties agreed.
The new Oak Bay High School is the biggest construction project for Oak Bay and will be a major community asset once it is completed. It is imperative, therefore, that the municipality and the community continue to have a voice in the planning details. Stay tuned…
- Official Community Plan Advisory Committee (OPAC) Update
Members of the Heritage Advisory Committee attended last week’s regular monthly OPAC meeting to discuss how to fully integrate the Heritage Strategic Plan into the new Official Community Plan (OCP). As you know, the Heritage Plan was completed earlier this year after extensive community consultation that focused on asking the public what they value about Oak Bay’s local heritage/history. Heritage volunteers put a lot of time and effort into coordinating completion of the Plan so it is important that heritage values be interwoven into the new OCP.
Staff updated OPAC on the latest survey timeline revision and statistics from the community survey questionnaire, including:
- to date, there is a 26% response rate, 6% above the industry standard
- 1,897 online questionnaires have been completed
- 139 envelopes were undeliverable
- survey data collection closes on October 30, considered a “soft” deadline
- October 31 to November 18 – data will be collated and coded and data tables will be running
- November 19 to December 13 – data results will be analyzed and a draft report submitted on or before December 17
- next public Open House tentatively scheduled for Saturday, February 8 and staff will confirm a venue
Next two meetings of OPAC are November 7 at 7:00 PM and December 16 at 5:30 PM, both in Council Chambers.
- DON’T FORGET TO VISIT THE PUMPKIN ART DISPLAY BEHIND THE MUNICIPAL HALL, SPONSORED BY OAK BAY’S BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES AND THE DISTRICT OF OAK BAY
- OAK BAY ROTARY IS NOW TAKING ORDERS FOR CHRISTMAS POINSETTIAS—-Supporting OB Rotary means supporting their community and international projects. Six, eight and ten inch pots are available and can be ordered through Joan Peggs. Joan can be reached at 250-598-1716 or at email@example.com The plants are beautiful and are a wonderful gift or addition to any home at Christmas time.