- Councillor Injured
Councillor Tara Ney will be absent from the Council table for the next few weeks while she recovers from a badly broken leg. Councillor Ney suffered the break during an exhibition rugby game for Mayors and other dignitaries. She was standing in as Acting Mayor for Mayor Nils Jensen who was out of the country. After undergoing four hours of surgery to repair the break, Councillor Ney is now home recuperating. We wish her a speedy recovery.
- Planning Ahead in Public Health and Safety
The Oak Bay Fire Department presented its Strategic Direction Action Plan for 2013. I voted with Council to endorse the Plan, a well developed document “driven from the ground up,” a process used probably for the first time in the department’s history. The Fire Chief indicated that strategic planning is relatively new to the department but is a necessary and welcome change. I was impressed with the report’s priorities and strategies which include health and wellness, training, succession planning, leadership, ongoing progress reports, information technology and public relations.
Please visit the municipal website to see the report in full.
- Official Community Plan Update
In a verbal report by Acting CAO Gary Nason, supplemented by Councillor and Chair of the OCP Advisory Committee (OPAC) Councillor Pam Copley, Council learned that there have been 1,178 residents who have accessed the community survey online and of these, 1,061 have made submissions. 342 hard copies have been mailed out to residents requesting a copy in this format.
6,649 reminder letters were mailed out last week, this time in a clearly marked envelope. October 30 remains the “soft” deadline for completed survey questionnaires, meaning that submissions will be taken after October 30th but residents are urged to try to meet the deadline.
The third community Open House is being planned for February 2014 and the location is tentatively the Monterey Centre. Further information on this event will be available later in the year.
Finally, the CAO, in consultation with OPAC, will be recommending to Council that the committee expands its mandate and terms of reference to include a role in reviewing policy items during preparation of the new OCP. This means that Oak Bay resident volunteers will continue to have an important role to play in reviewing the process of renewing our community plan as it continues to be developed by the consultant and our community.
- Local Arts Support Recognized
I voted to approve in principle the Mayor’s proposal to establish an Arts Laureate for Oak Bay. This proposal is planned in partnership with the Business Improvement Association and the Oak Bay Tourism Committee. The Arts Laureate will work with the municipality, the local arts community and other organizations to support and enhance activities and events that showcase local Oak Bay artists, arts and culture.
While I voted to approve the proposal, I joined other Council members in asking for more details about the proposed position, such as terms of reference and budget allocation. I did not support the concept of assigning the position a stipend or honourarium, but suggested instead assigning a budget to the position, consistent with our current practice applied to other volunteer bodies appointed by Council. Providing a stipend or honourarium to a volunteer would be a distinct departure from current practice.
While the Arts Laureate will be appointed by the Mayor for the duration of this Council’s term (12 months), I reiterated the need to make future appointments consistent with our current volunteer recruitment process (applications, selection and Council approval). This ensures fairness and opens the opportunity to serve in this capacity to others in our arts community. I also suggested that the role of the Laureate be reviewed to ensure that it’s integrated with the role of the regional arts Council Liaison position and consistent with Oak Bay’s Public Art Policy of 1994, one that I just learned about last week. The Mayor agreed to these requests and will bring back the proposal to Council with suggested amendments, for our approval.
Next Meeting October 21, Committee of the Whole, at 7:00 PM, in Council Chambers.