New community group comes to North Oak Bay

Group invites neighbours to Emmanuel Baptist Church Saturday, Nov. 5

Residents in north Oak Bay have a new community association to call their own.

The association got off the ground earlier this year, and organizers are planning a meet-and-greet this Saturday at Emmanuel Baptist Church to welcome new members and spread the word.

“The intent is really about building community,” says Pieter de Groot, a founding member of the association who has a professional background in community development. “What could we do to improve the quality of life in the community?”

De Groot acknowledges the work the Community Association of Oak Bay does for Oak Bay as a whole, but says this is a way to work at a localized, neighbourhood level.

Examples include assistance for seniors in the neighbourhood or a tool lending library.

“One of the first things we wanted to do was bring (together) as many people in the community as possible.”

The group has about 40 members to date. “Our vision is to enhance our healthy, vibrant and caring north Oak Bay community,” de Groot says. “There are certainly people who have needs in our society that other people might not know about.”

The group is open to all residents of the north Henderson area, about 497 homes with natural boundaries at Lansdowne, Cedar Hill X Road, Henderson golf course, Camosun College and the University of Victoria.

“We really want to have members throughout the community,” de Groot says.

At the meeting, “the plan is for people to come together and socialize with each other. People can provide input about what the association should be doing in the future,” he adds. “They will get to know some of their neighbours. I hope they will develop a sense of connection with the community, a greater sense of belonging to the community.”

In addition to homeowners, students living in the area are also welcome. Students may feel disconnected to the neighbourhood beyond being their place to live, however the act of helping a neighbour or their neighbourhood can bring its own benefits. “If people feel they can make a contribution to the community, that’s valuable.”

Co-sponsored by the church, the event runs from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Baptist Church,  2121 Cedar Hill X Rd. Attendees are asked to RSVP to Pieter de Groot at 250-592-4575 or by email at pieterdegroot@shaw.ca.