Commercial ventures remain under ban in Oak Bay parks as a group tasked by the Parks and Recreation Commission to look at use of local parks brought forward its recommendations.
The task group looking at use of local parks presented its findings including a Decision Guide for the commission and a draft on reducing negative impacts of permitted special events with background material on other municipalities.
“It’s a work in progress still, but this was where we’ve come to at this point,” commission chair Sandi Piercy told council during the May 19 committee meeting.
Parking and waste management are two areas that will be monitored. Staff will encourage event organizers to reduce parking use during events to maximize public parking and forward suggestions for zero waste events.
“A lot of this is consolidating existing bylaws,” said Ray Herman, director of parks and recreation services.
Based on the size of the event, staff will implement the suggestions to reduce negative impacts on the parks and include language in the 2016 park permits.The commission plans to review the recommendations at the end of the year to see if the guidelines are successful.
“We are seeing an increase of people wanting to come to Oak Bay for events because it’s so great,” said Coun. Hazel Braithwaite. “We have to be very cognizant of what kind of pressure that puts on our neighbourhoods and parks.”
Coun. Kevin Murdoch, who chaired the meeting, thanked the commission for its work on the ongoing task of compiling information.
“Collecting those bylaws and guidelines in one document is enormously helpful for everyone, residents and staff alike,” Murdoch said.
Tweed ride approved
Willows Beach will be the start and finish of the Tweed Ride.
Oak Bay Tourism and the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition paired up to bring the annual Tweed Ride to Oak Bay.
The fifth annual Tweed Ride is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8. The cycling portion of the event will take place on the streets of Oak Bay. Willows Park would be used for registration at 10 a.m. and serve as the starting point and finish for the ride, with a picnic to follow. The event finishes at 4 p.m.
The event, which expects between 200 and 300 riders, will kick off Arts and Culture Week in Oak Bay. The organizers have made arrangements with the Kiwanis Club to sell tea as a fundraiser, with proceeds going to Bicycles for Humanity, an organization that provides bicycles to people in undeveloped countries.
Hotel in arrears
Coun. Braithwaite sought clarification on the status of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel taxes, and staff confirmed the Beach Drive business is in arrears to the tune of nearly $800,000. The District of Oak Bay is ranked as a super priority claim in the receivership of Oak Bay Beach Hotel which owes its 2014 property taxes.
“They just fall into the normal sequence of events,” said municipal treasurer Patricia Walker. Staff are set to mail out this year’s tax notices in the coming weeks.