June 23 Council Meeting Highlights

  • Deer Management Program Up In the Air

We learned from the Mayor last night during “Mayor’s Remarks” that Oak Bay’s plan related to deer management and a possible cull are looking uncertain.  Available clover traps were vandalized and are no longer available, the Province has indicated that it will not consider cost sharing nor can they lend us any clover traps and the CRD’s pilot program winds down in September.  As you know, I was the sole Councillor to vote for a different option presented in last November’s staff report recommending our participation in the CRD’s deer management program.  I believed then and now that option 3 was the best choice for Oak Bay, providing us more more direct control over the program and geared to our specific needs and challenges of dealing with urban deer in Oak Bay.  The outcome is unfortunate on a number of fronts and I realize that public expectations on both sides of the issue have not been fully met.  Stay tuned…

  • Official Community Plan Draft #3 Moves Ahead to a Public Hearing

The vote was unanimous to move draft three of the new Official Community Plan forward, as first and second reading passed and a September 9, 2014 date was set for a Public Hearing, commencing at 6:00 PM, with the location TBA.

  • Bowker Creek Initiative  – Restoration in Full Swing

The CRD made a presentation on the status of the Bowker Creek Restoration initiative, an exciting and innovative project that will see the Creek area adjacent to the new Oak Bay High School restored.  There will be new native plant habitats, trees planted, an outdoor learning area and other projects, some of which will be co-managed using student volunteers.  This restoration forms part of a new green way that will transform the area and provide a wonderful new green space in which the public can gather and celebrate the history of Bowker Creek as an environmental and green asset in Oak Bay.

  • Duplex Proposal Approved to Move to a Future Committee of the Whole

I voted with the Council majority (6 to 1) to move a duplex proposal for the corner of Estevan and Cadboro Bay Road to a Committee of the Whole meeting to facilitate further public input on the proposal.  This application was first made 2 years ago and the consulting architect and owners have since been working with neighbours and municipal staff to make changes to the proposal that mitigate its impact on neighbouring properties and ensure that it fits into the surrounding neighbourhood.  I have consistently supported this proposal as a model to demonstrate that new duplexes can be well designed and built to complement the neighbourhood.  Three key points to remember about this proposal:  re-zoning is site specific to this location only; suites are not permitted in duplexes by law; and, there are other duplexes located in the neighbourhood.

  • Subdivision Denied 

I voted with Council to deny a subdivision request for the Uplands on Upper Terrace.  My major concern is the precedent this would set and its departure from the original vision for Uplands, that the area remains park like with sweeping green spaces and view scapes.  I am also concerned about the recent trend in Uplands related to the rate of demolitions to build larger and larger homes on existing lots.  This is a pressing issue for me that hopefully will be addressed by the next Mayor and Council.

  • Public Art in Oak Bay

I voted with Council to approve a staff report and request to install three public art exhibits in Oak Bay.  The cost will be $7,500, a jointly funded initiative from the municipality, the Community Initiatives Committee and the Business Improvement Association.  When I asked about budget and potential cost overruns, I was assured that the budget of $7,500 is fixed and there will be no overrun for this project.

  • Hewlett Place Strata Subdivision

I voted to approve moving this proposal forward, but not without my raising my concerns with the developer about the amount of tree-cutting that has occurred on the site.  While I realize that tree removal was within the provisions of Oak Bay’s Tree Protection Bylaw and managed with the assistance of Oak Bay’s arbourist Chris Paul, I reiterated my concern about tree loss on this site and the need to protect and preserve the urban forest canopy throughout Oak Bay.  The developer has agreed to re-plant all lost trees with similar species, including Garry Oaks.


NEXT MEETING:  July 14th Committee of the Whole, Council Chambers, 7:00