- CRD’s Deer Management Pilot Project Approved
Council received a lengthy staff report, including recommendations, from outgoing Acting Chief Administrative Officer Gary Nason, on the partnership with the CRD to begin a pilot project to effectively manage Oak Bay’s urban deer problem. A CRD spokesperson attended our meeting and joined Mr. Nason to answer a variety of questions from Council members. We learned that two other municipalities (View Royal and Central Saanich) will also participate in urban and rural deer management pilots.
Mr. Nason’s report presented three different options for moving ahead with the project. I did not vote with the rest of Council to adopt Option 2. I believed that Option 3 was preferable because it included the wording”…Indicate to the CRD that the District is prepared to participate in the proposed Deer Management Pilot Project, subject to any additional requests or conditions that Council may ask the CRD to consider.
I believed that this additional wording might provide greater flexibility to Oak Bay, such as additional public input from Oak Bay residents and ongoing monitoring and re-assessment of pilot conditions and terms as the project moves forward, ensuring that any modifications made were specific to our deer problem.
In addition to conducting a “capture-euthanize” program of approximately 25 deer, the Deer Management Pilot Project for Oak Bay includes public education on use of deer repellent, input to the CRD on dealing with aggressive deer, review of road signage, speed limits and other refinements, expansion of public education, tracking deer-related complaints and circumstances where the District is contacted, formalize participation as a member of a Regional Deer Management Strategy oversight committee and support the region’s efforts to enhance First Nation’s harvest and use of euthanized deer (in Oak Bay, this would be the Songhees First Nation).
Achieving a balance between animal welfare and public health and safety is always challenging but the safety of the public must guide public policy and practice in this case.
- OB Police Present 2014 Provisional Budget
Police Chief Mark Fisher was pleased to present to Mayor and Council the 2014 provisional policing budget that boasts an almost 1% decrease over last year. There were savings in fuel (due to greater use of foot and bicycle patrols), conference and travel costs and administrative costs. I am impressed with the leadership, teamwork and group effort by the Oak Bay Police to monitor and reduce overhead without compromising their ability to provide exemplary services.
For details of the provisional budget, please visit the municipal website.
- Official Community Plan Update
Mr. Nason reported out the latest metrics on the response rates to the community survey, part of the Official Community Plan renewal project, as follows:
- Return rate on the online survey questionnaire had reached 36%, well over the industry standard response rate of 20%.
- Return rate on mailed-in written survey questionnaire had reached 71%, with one telephone interview for a visually impaired resident.
These response rates are very high and reflect the levels of positive community engagement in this entire process. Thank you for your participation!
Please note that there will be another public open house on February 8, 2014, during the day and in the evening, at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre. We look forward to seeing you there and for more details and updates, please visit the municipal website and the link for the OCP.
- Oak Bay’s Floor Area Ratio (FAR) Committee Will Host a Public Open House on December 11th – please watch for further details.