Letter: Housing alternatives needed in Oak Bay

Consideration should be given to alternative housing options

Re: Community-driven housing strategy needed now, Oak Bay News May 18

It is an interesting, sometimes frustrating experience, following the goings on in Oak Bay. Whether our deer management problems, need for improved infrastructure, and of course the ever-present issue of “community development,” among others.

I appreciate the thoughts expressed recently by Mr. Sultanum, however, I feel it is equally important to hear from those who may share a slightly different vision for Oak Bay.

I do agree our municipality and our councillors should take time in fully understanding and implementing the official community plan, and I am hopeful that we take a progressive approach to the task. It’s too easy to fall into political quicksand when envisioning change and in the end simply sink and do nothing. How refreshing would it be to see Oak Bay take the lead in really impacting our future visions for the municipality and how it will positively impact its residents?

To suggest that municipal development opportunities such as infill housing will not assist in reducing what I’ll term “residential exclusivity” in Oak Bay ignores what takes place right now throughout our community.

Mr. Sultanum states most people he speaks to would not live in a basement suite or converted garage later in life.  I struggle to agree with the point.

I know of countless Oak Bay basement suites and converted garages currently housing senior members of families or assisting the younger generation in gaining their first steps to independence while still maintaining a close connection with family.

While technically in violation of current bylaws, can anyone argue with the higher moral ground? Keeping families together in a municipality they have spent decades or their entire lives being a part of. Allowing them an opportunity to spend their later years on the very properties they have cared for and of course contributed taxes to. Not to mention the increased ability to provide caregiving to those you wish to keep close.

I won’t speak for others but will say, I’d much rather enjoy my later years in a lovely infill garden suite or laneway home than have to sell my lifelong home and enter the condo market.

I am a third-generation resident of Oak Bay, a combined 100 years and counting in this municipality, and I fear I’ll be the last of my family to enjoy its many benefits if there are not adequate considerations to alternative housing options.

It will be a very sad day for me should the Tweed Curtain turn into steel gates.

Kevin Hall

Oak Bay