A local group of knowledgable and concerned citizens are reaching out to council to help protect Oak Bay shorelines. The Shorelines Development Permit Area (SDPA) was established under the Official Community Plan in 2014; however, they feel that it has not been effectively implemented. The group is offering guidance to council on how to best implement through educating homeowners and developers of their responsibilities and having deterrents and consequences to ensure protection and enhancement of the shoreline. (Photo courtesy Anita Wolfe)

Concerned citizens push for more shoreline protection

Group seeking better implementation of Shorelines Development Permit Area

A local group of knowledgeable and concerned citizens are reaching out to council to help protect Oak Bay shorelines.

The Shorelines Development Permit Area (SDPA) was established under the Official Community Plan in 2014, to protect and preserve Oak Bay’s shorelines by restricting development within the 15 metre strip of land along the shore.

According to the group of residents, it has not been effectively implemented and new developments have not adhered to the guidelines. The group is offering guidance to council on how to best implement it through educating landowners and developers of their responsibilities, and having deterrents and consequences to ensure protection and enhancement of the shoreline.

“What we would like to see is Oak Bay implementing the SDPA properly.” says Lehna Malmkvist, a resident and biologist involved in shoreline work in the CRD. “So the first part is informing and educating landowners, and then moving forward, using what is called the Green Shores Program to make sure that new developments are informed well ahead of time and understand their responsibilities when they are developing these shoreline properties.”

The results of the Official Community Plan (OCP) survey show that the Oak Bay community places high value on the natural environment. A majority of respondents (60 percent) listed protect and manage shoreline as a priority. Residents recognize that environmental conservation, with public and private stewardship, is important to sustaining the natural beauty of this community.

It is not just about protecting the aesthetics, but also the stability of the shores. Erosion and damage from storm surges due to climate change can significantly affect property values and municipal infrastructure. Protecting the integrity of the shoreline can help mitigate disaster and save homeowners and the municipality money.

“The Green Shores is a relatively new standard that has been recognized all over British Columbia but is new to Oak Bay,” says Anita Wolfe, resident and Living Building Challenge Ambassador. “The nice thing is that it is not expensive to do, it looks beautiful, and it enhances the value. We can do this. It is actually cheaper. If we don’t do this, there are significant consequences. There is a financial cost, there is an environmental cost, and there is also a legal cost.”

The group is proposing a draft of an information package that would go to all waterfront property owners, all developers and real estate companies doing business in Oak Bay, and applicants of permits for waterfront properties. The package would explain the ecological importance of the shoreline, the effects of past developments, the Green Shores approach, and residents/developers responsibilities.

They also recommend that council and staff implement significant consequences for those that do damage to the SPDA as a result of permitted or not permitted work. The group says that the fines should make destruction of the protected area cost prohibitive instead of “the cost of doing business.”

David Anderson, former MP for Oak Bay, former federal Minister of Environment and of Fisheries and Oceans, and a member of the concerned group of residents says, “as a frequent kayaker along Oak Bay shores I have seen first hand the appropriation by waterfront properties of the public’s foreshore. Inappropriate retaining walls, rocks dumped on beaches, and vegetation removed from the foreshore strip are now, sadly, common features. It is high time for Oak Bay to put an end to this alienation – theft – of public property.”

“The shoreline infrastructure in Oak Bay, and in Greater Victoria in general, was designed in another era. It is not at all ready for the future with rising sea levels. Now is the time to start planning on building something smarter,” says Jacques Sirious, chair of the Friends of Victoria Harbour Bird Sanctuary.

At the Nov. 27 meeting, council indicated support for the inclusion of a presentation on foreshore protection tools and Green Shores development guidelines at the 2018 AVICC Conference.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

A local group of knowledgable and concerned citizens are reaching out to council to help protect Oak Bay shorelines. The Shorelines Development Permit Area (SDPA) was established under the Official Community Plan in 2014; however, the group feels it has not been effectively implemented. The group is offering guidance to council on how to best implement through educating homeowners and developers of their responsibilities and having deterrents and consequences to ensure protection and enhancement of the shoreline. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

UVic student killed in bus crash remembered as passionate, kind

Emma Machado, 18, killed in bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

Oak Bay approves subdivision for lot that houses Maclure-designed heritage home

Mansion-style Blair Gowie house famous for its design and historical connection with Butchart family

MLA Andrew Weaver thins workload after illness, full recovery expected

BC Green Party leader felt symptoms at a public event in Langley, and was taken to hospital

Golfer aims for hole-in-one to raise cash for Victoria Hospice

Fundraiser event hits Highland Pacific Golf Course Sept. 17

UPDATE: One man dies in Saanich collision

Police are asking people to avoid the intersection at Cumberland and Union roads

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

Most Read