Oak Bay embarks on its first round of public consultation regarding infill housing this month. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Oak Bay embarks on its first round of public consultation regarding infill housing this month. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Community photos, stories to help craft vision of future housing in Oak Bay

Public consultation includes photos, stories and walking tours

A call for stories and images aims to inspire residents to create a vision of future housing in Oak Bay.

Initial public engagement for the district’s infill housing strategy also includes community walkabouts – a bid to reach residents who seem more disengaged since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Kevin Murdoch said.

He pointed to the housing needs assessment that showed gaps – those looking to move into the community or downsize from a large single family home couldn’t do so. The district aims to develop a clear criteria so housing forms can pop up gently within the neighbourhoods in the decades to come.

The purpose of the infill housing strategy, started last year, is to identify opportunities and specific housing needs for neighbourhoods.

“It touches on every part of the community, so it’s important we get as many people involved as possible,” Murdoch said.

“We wanted to create opportunities for people to think about these housing forms.”

Housing types to be considered include heritage home conversions to multiple units, detached suites such as laneway houses and garden suites, subdivision, duplexes, triplexes and townhouses.

This round of community engagement includes a call for resident photos and stories and includes walkabouts with municipal staff.

“We wanted to have some aspects of this that brought people out and had them be a bit more actively engaged, as opposed to just filling out online forms,” Murdoch said.

Now through Feb. 18, residents can participate in the neighbourhood photo challenge in response to three questions: What types of infill housing would be great for Oak Bay? What might it look like? Where can infill housing go in Oak Bay? Photos can be local or illustrate ideas from other areas.

The stories challenge, with a Feb. 25 deadline, asks: Why does infill housing in Oak Bay matter to you?

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The district hosts public survey walkshops on Feb. 12 and 26, where participants can share ideas and insights in small groups with the planning team.

Each group will snap photos and share images of what they love about existing housing, as well as where they think different types of infill housing might fit.

The goal is to get a broad sense of views, gauge initial ideas and feedback, and use that information to pose firm options with pros and cons, ahead of further consultation in spring or summer. The goal is to have recommendations from council by the end of this term with a municipal election set for Oct. 15.

Other housing priorities, such as looking at village area and corridor plans, are scheduled for the next council term.

Submit photos and stories or register for a walkshop at connect.oakbay.ca/infill.

c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

Housingoak bayoak bay council

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