Oak Bay Election 2018
MANAGING DEVELOPMENT IN OAK BAY BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
Since 2010, the pace of development in Oak Bay has escalated, because of a robust real estate market and in-migration from the Lower Mainland and elsewhere. Previously described as “built out,” Oak Bay is now seeing significant change through re-development and the reduction of its more affordable, older housing stock
Between 2015 and June 2018, for example, there have been more than 100 residential demolitions or removals in Oak Bay. These older, small character homes have been replaced with more expensive housing, out of the price range of middle income earners, young working families and seniors on fixed incomes who would like to age in place by downsizing.
The loss to older housing stock is raising concerns about the changing face of Oak Bay’s established neighbourhoods, including: loss of green space (trees and habitat) and street scape (smaller/older character homes); environmental impacts from foreshore development; the long term capacity of and “wear and tear” on existing infrastructure such as sewers, drainage, roads and other public amenities; and, affordability.
Admittedly, while not all older homes are salvageable or suitable for restoration/renovation, the municipality must effectively and actively manage and plan for this type of fast-paced change and development pressure, or Oak Bay is at risk to lose what it values most, its unique character and natural environments; there are opportunities to work together with developers to encourage “best practices.”
That’s why I will work for:
- A new standard for neighbourhood consultation, to ensure that developers work closely with adjacent neighbours and neighbourhoods, ahead of new projects; a communication process that leads to greater transparency, better consensus-building and more respect for established neighbourhoods, street scapes and green spaces.
- A new land use policy requiring developers to provide to the municipality additional amenities, such as funding or a dedication in kind to support and enhance opportunities for below market housing, parks or other community programs, as part of the cost of developing large projects in Oak Bay (commonly known as development cost charges in many other regional municipalities).
- Expanding the role of the citizen-led Advisory Design Panel, so that it provides recommendations on referrals from Mayor and Council on new development and re-development projects throughout our community, and not just to protect the Uplands.
- Stronger protection for our natural environment (green spaces, tree canopies and sensitive marine foreshore areas/habitats), by reinstating a municipal environmental advisory body, disbanded over three years ago by the current Mayor and Council.
- A required demolition waste management plan for each development, so that demolition waste is re-cycled and re-used wherever possible, to avoid wholesale dumping at Hartland Landfill.
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