A dog was injured in the fire in the 900-block of Transit Road. Oak Bay firefighters rescued the pet after first restraining its owner who attempted to go back into the blaze. The dog was found unconscious and revived using specialized equipment provided by the Greater Victoria Dog Obedience Training Club. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News) A dog was injured in the fire in the 900-block of Transit Road. Oak Bay firefighters rescued the pet after first restraining its owner who attempted to go back into the blaze. The dog was found unconscious inside the home during firefighters’ primary search and was revived using specialized equipment. The oxygen masks were provided by the Greater Victoria Dog Obedience Training Club. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

February 2017: Secondary suites and derelict boats make headlines

Longtime principal retires at Oak Bay High

Secondary suites were set to replace infill on Oak Bay’s priorities list for official community plan implementation.

A divided council on the shift were to revisit its strategic priorities for 2017 and 2018 during spring budget discussions.

While the District of Saanich worked to remove boats from its shoreline, Oak Bay stuck to its guns, saying greater imperative is a regional solution to the problem. In the meantime, the string of wrecks along the Oak Bay shoreline of Cadboro Bay continued to irk residents on the Saanich end of the neighbourhood.

Around the bend at Oak Bay Marina, the Oak Bay Marine Group has invested time and effort over many years to be part of the solution. They cite the jurisdictional quagmire and a lack of funding as the main barriers delaying a permanent resolution.

“We are all aiming to find a solution to the existing problem, and ideally, a future wherein the bay adjacent to the marina is properly controlled, encouraging local and visiting boaters alike to stay and enjoy all of the amenities and businesses that Oak Bay has to offer,” said Oak Bay Marine Group spokesperson Susan Barcham.

Jensen would like to see a provincial program similar to that of Washington State, with a fund to deal with these boats.

Dave Thomson retired as principal at Oak Bay High after nearly 15 years.

“From the very beginning of his career as a teacher in 1974, Dave devoted a great deal of time to coaching and supporting student activities,” said Piet Langstraat, superintendent of schools. “For the past 15 years Dave has been extremely dedicated to Oak Bay High School, and he has always put the needs of the school before himself.”

Thomson is seen as a leader among his administrator peers with an impact felt across the Greater Victoria School District, well beyond the Oak Bay High walls, Langstraat says.

“He has been instrumental in bringing the dream and visions of what a new Oak Bay High School could be to reality … and he continues to do this to this day,” Langstraat says. “Dave has an incredible heart for students and it has been evident throughout his career.”

In a system where principals routinely shift venues, Thomson credits the board with letting him finish out his career in Oak Bay.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity and what a great ride.”

Thomson started as a teacher in Abbotsford, but played for the Shamrocks lacrosse club that worked to score him an interview in Victoria. Originally slated to start at Lansdowne, Thomson wound up working at Arbutus the fall of 1974.

“If I’m not at Arbutus I don’t get to be Steve Nash’s coach. (That’s) lucky charm number what?” Thomson said.

He calls it serendipitous, his connection with several high-profile professional athletes from Greater Victoria.

While coaching his son in baseball, Thomson took a leadership role with now major league baseball player Michael Saunders.

His years coaching also included leading youngsters who would later work with him, including current Oak Bay teachers Rich Fast and Brent Garraway.

In September 1974, Thompson started at Arbutus Junior Secondary where he also served as the vice-principal of Summer School for three summers. After 18 years at Arbutus, he became acting vice-principal at Oak Bay in the fall of 1992, working six years alongside then principal Doug Shaw.

Thomson moved to Spectrum as a vice-principal for fall of 1997, shifting that summer to principal of Central Junior Secondary. He moved to Lansdowne as principal in February 2002, knowing he would be transferred – when Shaw retired later that year – to Oak Bay.

Most administrators stay five to seven years, Thomson says, but then there was talk of upgrades to Oak Bay High and on and off planning. Then plans started enter the realm of reality.

A dog was injured in the fire in the 900-block of Transit Road. Oak Bay firefighters rescued the pet after first restraining its owner who attempted to go back into the blaze. The dog was found unconscious inside the home during firefighters’ primary search and was revived using specialized equipment. The oxygen masks were provided by the Greater Victoria Dog Obedience Training Club.

The Salla Rose sat ensconced in a second round of absorbent oil booms after sinking in Oak Bay early Feb. 6.

The Coast Guard received a report the boat had sunk just outside Oak Bay Marina. No one was aboard the 45-foot sailboat and no injuries were reported. Diesel was visible immediately on the water and C-Tow Victoria placed absorbent pads around the vessel.

“Coast Guard Environmental Response assessed the situation this morning and has deployed additional booms to continue to contain the pollutants upwelling from the sunken vessel,” wrote Michelle Imbeau, communications advisor, Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Canadian Coast Guard in an email to the Oak Bay News. “An accurate assessment of the quantity of pollutants onboard has not yet been determined.”

The four inductees Oak Bay High Distinguished Fine Arts Alumni this year were professional artist Frank Lewis (posthumous); Bernie Shaw – lead singer of British band Uriah Heep; professional dancer Patricia Sparks Taylor and retired principal Dave Thomson.

A renowned muralist and painter, Lewis’ work adorns bridges, museums and many businesses throughout the southern Island, across Canada and even at the Canadian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Métis artist died March 6, 2013 at 81. The previous fall he unveiled his last public painting, Honour Creation, at the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s healing centre.

Deputy Chief Kent Thom retired from the Oak Bay Police Department Feb. 28. Thom came here more than a dozen years ago from the Edmonton Police Service.

“I’ve worked with Kent for almost three years and it’s been a pleasure,” said Chief Constable Andy Brinton. “He’s always a professional and a gentleman. He’s provided an excellent level of service to the community in the time that he’s been here.”

Thom says it was a family decision to retire.

“They were really instrumental in helping me decide to pull the plug,” he said.

He plans to relax, travel and spend more time with family and friends and doing humanitarian work alongside his wife.

“We’ve travelled a little bit and helped build water purification systems and homes and schools. We’ve really benefitted from the experiences,” Thom said. “You’re seeing the cultures of where you’re travelling … it’s a huge education, but it’s also something that helps you appreciate what you have.”

Thom served with Edmonton Police Service for 25 years before coming on in Oak Bay more than 12 years ago.

“There have been ups an downs but overall … I’ve really learned to appreciate the people in Oak Bay, from residents to council and all of the municipal staff. I was learning all the time.”

Thom spent the last nine and a half years in a leadership role, earned about a month before September 2007.

In a home on King George Terrace, Peter Lee killed his wife, Sunny Park, their son Christian and Sunny’s parents before taking his own life.

“That was probably one of the most high profile incidents involving the police in Oak Bay history,” Thom said. “If you’re faced with an extreme situation off the bat, you learn … learn from mistakes and develop from those mistakes.”

The bylaw for the proposed mixed-use Bowker building on Cadboro Bay Road appeared before council after a narrow decision to move the project forward. In response to earlier meetings, the proponent, Abstract Developments offered a four-foot setback on the ground level of Bowker Avenue, doubled its contribution toward upgrading the intersection of Cadboro Bay Road and Bowker Avenue to $100,000 (with a request it be included in the 2018 or 2019 budget); and committed to $10,000 earmarked for public art.

Councillors Michelle Kirby, Tara Ney, Tom Croft and Mayor Nils Jensen were ready to see the project move forward, while councillors Eric Zhelka, Kevin Murdoch and Hazel Braithwaite were not.

The divided council vote reflected a divided public input in a lengthy conversation between the proponent, council members and the public over the building planned for the corner of Bowker Avenue and Cadboro Bay Road.

The top-ranked Oak Bay Breakers took the Island title after handily defeating host Dover Bay 80-34 during the senior girls’ AAA basketball Island Championships in Nanaimo.

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