- Special Council Meeting
At a Special Council Meeting held an hour before the Committee of the Whole Meeting, Council completed its deliberations and voted on five edits to the second OCP draft, put forward by Councillor Kevin Murdoch at the June 9th Council Meeting. Councillor Murdoch’s submissions followed a comprehensive presentation by consultant Catherine Berris. Council sat until midnight that night so it was agreed by everyone that we would review and deliberate Councillor Murdoch’s submission at a Special Council Meeting on June 16th. We concluded these deliberations and the changes were either moved forward in their original form or amended. Councillor Murdoch’s suggested wording edits related to draft sections on Vision, Active Transportation and Housing.
Under Active Transportation, I did not support an edit that suggested that properties were expected to provide “sufficient off-street parking.” Here’s why:
- It is estimated that the majority of Oak Bay households possess at least one or more motor vehicles. To expect sufficient off street parking would in many cases pose a hardship for homeowners whose smaller properties could not accommodate off street parking.
- The interpretation of the word “sufficient” is subjective and I am not clear what this would have meant in practical and actual terms.
- Off street parking may mean that we lose more green space in Oak Bay, as owners attempt to meet the off street parking expectation by paving over green areas on their property.
- In some cases, vehicle parking on through side streets in Oak Bay actually serves to calm speeding traffic. This is a recognized fact in many traffic studies I have reviewed, that parked vehicles narrow roadways and thereby, slow traffic.
- Parks and Rec Commission Monthly Meeting Minutes
I noted in the regular monthly minutes that the tree replacement program is not as robust as I would like to see. Commission and Parks staff are trying to address challenges of maintaining and enhancing our urban tree canopy, on private and public properties. I suggested that I would like to see the replacement rate increased and that a six-monthly report to Council might be a better reporting schedule, to give us a better overall view of the situation. I also recognize that Parks Manager Chris Hyde-Lay is doing a great job and is staying on top of this issue but any boost to replacement is welcome.
I asked Rec Centre staff what the impacts of a possible full-out teachers’ strike would be on our recreation programming and resources. The Manager stated that staff have been preparing for this eventuality for some time and costs and programming have been geared to the needs of parents who have children attending public school. Staff are to be congratulated on their advance preparation and ability to efficiently and effectively respond in such circumstances.
NEXT COUNCIL MEETING JUNE 23rd, in Council Chambers, at which time on the agenda will be first and second reading of the draft Official Community Plan, third version. Please WATCH the municipal website during the next few days for a new updated OCP draft, for your review ahead of June 23rd.
“Watching for the Next Draft”