Overflowing a room at the Delta Ocean Pointe, the June 24th combined Westside Solutions and Eastside Select Committee groups welcomed a crowd of about 250.
The evening was warm and the temperature inside the room got warmer as people moved around, talked to each other and listened to Mayors Lisa Helps, Barb Desjardins and Carol Hamilton outline the public engagement process so far. Flip charts showing current shortlisted sites formed an outer circle around the room that seemed small as the crush of people grew larger.
I ran into many old friends, colleagues and staff from local and regional government and was pleased to see CRD staff, Oak Bay staff, the Oak Bay Mayor and Councillors Ney and Murdoch mingling with the crowd. Mayor Helps opened the session following a period of “crowd cruising” through the maze of flip charts and hard copy materials, by a mix of people from Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria and Westside communities. With a show of hands, the majority of attendees were not newcomers, having attended previous public meetings since the beginning of this new, more open public engagement process, a testament to the ongoing commitment of decision-makers from the Westside and Eastside groups to continue to support meaningful public input.
I learned that there are 47 sites at play between the Westside and Eastside and Mayor Helps asked the audience to indicate what was important to them about these locations — was it the site or the solution, was it the cost or the treatment method and so on. There is a new online, interactive website to provide greater outreach to the public, asking citizens, among other questions, to rank their priorities and preferences about all current proposals.
What was made clear to the audience is that it will be our elected representatives who will have the difficult task of making final decisions on site selection, treatment method and cost. Please make sure that you participate in the online surveys aimed at Westside and Eastside communities. For the survey link to the Westside, click here: Westside and for the Eastside, click here: Eastside.