Much like the first round of public consultation, mental health and addiction services figured prominently in the second round looking into future uses of the Oak Bay Lodge site.
Addiction and mental health services, although not specifically presented in the options, appeared as a clear option for respondents in the first round of community consultation in January. At that time, Island Health identified three key health-care service areas for the property – primary care, seniors hub and health unit.
Consultations started in January and a second round wrapped in August as the Capital Regional Hospital District looks to refine ideas for proposed services and building options for the former site of the Oak Bay Lodge.
Council members voiced myriad concerns heard from residents as the results of the August consultations were presented during the Oct. 12 council meeting.
Coun. Cairine Green said her inbox was flooded with messages expressing concerns and posing important questions.
“I believe that whatever health services and programs are provided on this site must be a good fit, not only with regional needs but with the needs of our local community and with the immediate area in which a facility is located,” Green said.
Her take is that residents are supportive of elder care, primary health care, child care or related health care services and programs that will not create a public safety challenge or risk to those living in the area or affect existing core services provided by the municipality.
It was a sentiment echoed around the table.
Residents also voiced concern about consultations done during a pandemic prior to any provincial reopening plan and during the height of summer vacation. Others question how many Oak Bay residents were among those surveyed.
The project received input from 173 people at four electronic open houses, 14 in small group meetings, 850 completed surveys and 17 emails.
Kevin Lorette, GM of planning and protective services for the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD), and Michael Barnes, senior manager of health and capital planning strategies, presented the latest results.
The second round of consultation provided three preliminary concepts for consideration. Of respondents, 60 per cent supported Option 1 with 50 to 60 per cent site coverage and up to six storeys with service options such as general practitioner offices, community health workers space, public health, rehab services and brain injury services.
Option 3 was also popular, with 57 per cent supporting a 40 to 50 per cent site coverage and three to five storeys for a seniors-focused facility with a few supportive health services such as adult day care or a seniors hub.
Only 28 per cent showed support for Option 2, with 55 to 75 per cent site coverage and a three- to five-storey building featuring health services and non-health-care services such as affordable housing and independent seniors care.
Lorette said the next steps include working with Island Health to secure funding and approvals. Island Health is awaiting direction from the Ministry of Health and the treasury on the availability of funding.
Island Health has identified a seniors hub with other primary care as a priority for the site.
Coun. Hazel Braithwaite sought clarity on when the project might next seek input. The intent, she was told, is to gather more information once there are potential designs in place, and further information on potential uses in order to shape a rezoning application. That won’t happen until Island Health can confirm funding, or the CRHD must pursue another path. Loretta noted with Summit, the residential care facility on Hillside Avenue in Victoria where Oak Bay Lodge residents relocated, Island Health did not have funding so the CRHD served as landowner/developer and entered into a long-term lease with Island Health as the provider.
Some uses could mean Oak Bay would need to approve two covenants – that the land be used for seniors and for public good – on the 3.9-acre lot at 2251 Cadboro Bay Rd.
Mayor Kevin Murdoch will pen a letter to the CRHD to outline the concerns and questions raised.
All correspondence from residents will also be forwarded to the project and you can continue to submit information and read the latest reports at crd.bc.ca/project/oak-bay-lodge-redevelopment.
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