Go local in Oak Bay with new website

Community-based website offers ways to connect neighbours

Oak Bay’s Julie Helms aims to connect neighbours through her Oak Bay Local website

Julie Helms believes in the power of social media to connect people in real life.

The Willows elementary teacher, who grew up in Oak Bay and lives here once again with husband Eric and their two young children, was looking for a way to build her community.

Her solution was a website for and by locals, www.oakbaylocal.com, launched in April.

“I started it because I felt we could connect a little bit more in Oak Bay,” Helms says.

The idea is to connect residents with their neighbours and neighbourhood, with local service providers and businesses – everyone from local dog walkers and piano teachers to contractors and the best babysitters. Helms also hosts a weekly draw, giving away a gift certificate to a local business.

“It’s a very positive space,” she says. “If you’ve had a great experience, you can share that.

“If people have questions, they can ask. I think they like that they’re connected in a different way. Before you could ask a friend about a Halloween costume; now you have 650 people.”

“One of my proudest things was we had a local carpenter and I put a page up on the website and he’s booked until Christmas now,” Helms says.

Then there was the youngster who lost his Go Pro and all its related equipment. A posting on the site quickly reconnected the youth and his gear.

Then there was the birthday party at risk of being rained out, when a posting brought a timely and most welcome tent from the crew at Engel and Völkers real estate company.

“I really believe in a healthy community you can ask for help and get some help if you need it,” Helms says.

Another top posting? “We have a lot of single shoes, especially in summer,” she says with a laugh.

The site also offers the opportunity to link generations, Helms says, noting young families can feel isolated, especially without relatives nearby.

Connections have come from neighbours wanting to learn from each other, bringing the idea for microworkshops exploring topics such as raising mason bees, for example, or teaching bread-baking for children.

“Now, with social media, we can really branch out and I feel it’s really healthy to do that,” Helms says. “I’m hoping everyone can find an area of interest.

“Ultimately the part I love is they are posting about whatever, but in the end they have a few new friends.”

 

 

Just Posted

GALLERY: Oak Bay senior boys take first game in Gary Taylor basketball tournament

Jordan Burke wins Man of the Match honours in 106-54 win over Cowichan

Clover Point amenities plan for sewage line project projects 50 parking spots lost

New bike path proposed to be built on top of Dallas Road sewer line

VIDEO: Sooke couple’s elaborate Christmas display

Couple has been adding to tiny village display for past 11 years

Otter Point Fire Department hosts 26th Polar Bear Swim

Annual event takes place Jan. 1 at Whiffen Spit beach in Sooke

William Head fence debate a big deal out of nothing says officials

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns met with William Head warden Thursday

VIDEO: Nellie Stock – 40 years of teaching swimming and winning hearts

Clients and friends came out to honour Stock’s 40 years of service to Recreation Oak Bay

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15- to 19-year-olds, including one in Vernon

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

VIDEO: Colquitz students cram Saanich Police cruisers with food

Food literally burst out of the door from Const. Lisa Bruschetta’s cruiser

Most Read