‘Pie in the sky’ Oak Bay High plan goes back to drawing board

School officials withheld sharing preliminary blueprints until changes are made

There is unease among Oak Bay High school redevelopment stakeholders after school officials withheld sharing their preliminary blueprints until changes are made, blaming architects for being “too pie in the sky.”

However, that explanation alarmed district council at a special committee meeting on Sept. 25. They are concerned that changes are being made by the school unilaterally, instead of collaboratively.

“(We) want to have the opportunity to edit before raising angst to council when we can solve the problem before coming to the table so you don’t think we haven’t responded,” said Oak Bay High school principal Dave Thomson, defending why he didn’t present any current site plans. “We have to ring in the architects. With architects, there is a certain amount of creativity that (they) put in. But from a school perspective, it doesn’t work.”

Thomson didn’t offer any details, but tried extinguishing concerns by saying a presentable preliminary design will be available for sharing in two weeks. Victoria school district’s building projects supervisor Jim Soles also defended not showing the current, preliminary design to council.

“It was the first cut from the review and it seemed too inappropriate to have too many eyes on that paper,” Soles said. “There is a statement of requirements and it is our intention to include everything the municipality wanted.”

However, attempts to ease concerns about the $52.5 million project didn’t go over well with all.

“How do you edit without the consultation?” asked Coun. Cairine Green. “How do you know the changes you are making are congruent with the municipality?”

“We want to be in on the planning process,” added Mayor Nils Jensen, saying there is anxiety regarding how much input the school district will incorporate into their final plans. “This is complicated and is probably the biggest project ever (in Oak Bay).”

Thomson acknowledged expectations are high as the new school will leave a lasting legacy for generations. The project itself will see the building of a new high school, community learning facility, child care facility and performing arts centre. However, the redevelopment is also being seen as a launching pad into further encouraging bicycle use and walking as primary methods of transportation within the district. Restoration and riparian zone repairing of Bowker Creek is also included in the redevelopment plan for the school.

“Almost daily there seems to be increased pressure with what people, and I use that term globally, want us to do,” Thomson said. “We want it to be a perfect plan. … But, at the very least, we want it to be acceptable for the community. We are limited by the amount of money for the whole project and the space.”

The rest of the meeting included a presentation by the Oak Bay Active Transportation Advisory Committee on making the school area conducive to bicycling. There was also discussion on whether to remove parking or a car lane on Cadboro Bay Road for a bike lane.

The district unanimously passed a motion requiring the school district to provide work plans, timelines and to consult with the district within a reasonable time frame before a building permit is issued. The school district anticipates applying for a building permit in November.

 

 

Just Posted

Prolific offender found sleeping in Oak Bay resident’s car

Of 106 calls to 911 last week, eight were abandoned

RCMP confirm foul play in death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Police believe crime an isolated incident

Researchers head out from Sidney to explore Canada’s largest underwater volcano

The Explorer Seamount is as large as Greater Vancouver and full of previously undiscovered species

RCMP identify Sidney bank robbery suspect, believe he is still on Vancouver Island

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

BC Ferries’ top boss helps clean Willows Beach

Old shoe, men’s underpants and too many cigarette butts on Willows

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Rare white ravens spotted again in mid-Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

Most Read