February 11 Council Meeting Highlights

A Window to the Region's Future

  • Highlights of the Mayor’s Remarks and the Public Participation Period

The Mayor reported out a variety of activities that included a meeting with Barkley Terrace long boarders that he facilitated; status on a new bus shelter on Oak Bay Ave. that has apparently been in the hopper for awhile (it will be going up soon); concerns for Oak Bay about having community mailboxes; and, resolution of on street parking issues on Cavendish.

The current Chair of the Provincial Capital Commission attended to thank the District of Oak Bay, Oak Bay Council and Councillors Copley and deceased Councillor Allan Cassidy, for their support and participation over the past years on the Provincial Capital Commission, which will be dissolved effective March 31, 2014 as part of a provincial government initiative.

A representative of Amalgamation YES spoke on what he sees as the benefit to the CRD of amalgamation.  He compared this region with Surrey, B.C., a municipality of roughly the same size but one that has only a tenth of the number of elected officials.  In the CRD, we have about 91 elected representatives (Mayors and Councillors) that the speaker believes is wrong-headed and a tremendous drain on taxpayers.  The speaker attended in response to a previous request of Oak Bay Council earlier this year, to consider placing an amalgamation question on the fall municipal election ballot.  You can find my remarks about this topic in an earlier post from January 2014.

  • An Impossible “Quest”

Council listened to a presentation by Large & Co. Developments Inc. on a proposal for a 15-unit high end condominium complex at 2326 Oak Bay Avenue known as “The Quest.”  The current site, a small lot zoned Residential, has an older cottage on it.  I voted with a Council majority to defer this application until the new Official Community Plan has reached first reading, just prior to the public hearing stage.  The staff report provided us with this option (re-worded differently) and three others, the last (Option 4) to decline the proposal entirely.

I preferred Option 4 but, after reading the staff report, listening to the presentation and to other Council members, completing my own research on the issue and being part of the committee involved in renewing Oak Bay’s OCP (a process I obviously respect and support), I was one of six Council members who voted to defer this proposal at this time.

I should point out that I do not support this proposal as it is for the following reasons (I articulated them at our meeting) — the proposed building is just far too big and high for the small lot, it’s impact on immediate neighbours would be negative (loss of light and privacy), green space would be compromised, including a large Garry oak tree, and approval would require an amendment to the existing OCP (re-zoning the property from single family residential to multifamily residential).

Finally, I believe that a decision on this proposal will probably not be made by this Council.  By the time the new OCP is adopted in the fall (the current target), our Council term will be ending, an election will be imminent and a new Council will be elected.

I hope that Mr. Large took seriously the comments and reservations expressed by Council at our meeting.  Instead of what appears to be this very large, high end condominium proposal, I would prefer to see low rise, moderate clustered townhouses or a duplex on this property that is scaled to the size of the lot.  I suspect adjacent neighbours would be supportive of a less intrusive low rise development that respected them, the lot size and the green space.   Stay tuned…

  • PLEASE REMEMBER to Attend and Participate in the OCP Open House, 1:00 to 4:00 PM, Oak Bay Rec Centre (upstairs Sports View Lounge), this Saturday, February 15th.  The results of the community survey will be the focus.
  • February 19th, Windsor Park, 7:00 PM — Oak Bay’s Environmental Advisory Committee is hosting a panel discussion that will interest anyone who wants to preserve and protect our natural environment.
  • Bylaws for the Clive Proposal’s Housing Agreement and Parking Facilities passed first and second reading.  The Public Hearing on this proposal is scheduled for March 11th, 7:00 PM at Monterey Centre.  For further information, please visit the municipal website.