Oak Bay may pump up the price to party

Mayor Nils Jensen said it might be time to start charging an application fee for public events to reflect the district’s costs.

Oak Bay is such a popular place for special events that the district is reviewing fees because staff are becoming overwhelmed by demands.

A staff report penned by municipal clerk Loranne Hilton, stated that a “significant amount of staff time” is required to process applications and the district has been shouldering the cost of putting up signage for road closures, clean up and providing police personnel which has “not been charged to applicants consistently.”

She proposed a streamlined process, which will require applicants to have liability insurance of $3 million, a route map, detailed logistical information, a police approved traffic plan, to notify residents and pay any related municipal costs.

Mayor Nils Jensen said it might be time to start charging an application fee for public events to reflect the district’s costs.

“When we look at other permits we issue, there is a permit fee to reflect our cost,” said Jensen.

In 2013, there were 34 single or ongoing public events, five of them new.

The Business Improvement Association held nine events including Eco Week, the Spring Sidewalk Sale, the Summer Markets and Christmas Light Up. Other events include Paddle Fest, car shows, Oak Bay Half Marathon, Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, Run For the Cure, and walks sponsored by Multiple Sclerosis and Muscular Dystrophy.

For 2014, eight public event applications have been received by the district so far, according to a list compiled by staff.

Jensen doesn’t think there are too many events in Oak Bay.

“Some people feel that way (that there are too many events) but by and large, the community likes to have these events,” Jensen said, adding that it’s also good for businesses and tourism.

“Many of these events are participated in by our own residents and they are a good opportunity to be active and engaged.”

Jensen said there will be another report from staff, further discussing this issue.