Council extends olive branch

Search expanded for suites discussion consultant

It’s going to take more than a month. And it may cost more. And don’t call it a “fair.”

Finding a firm to lead public discussion on the secondary suites issue is proving more complicated than originally thought for Oak Bay’s political leaders.

At a packed meeting Feb. 7, Oak Bay council voted four to three to proceed with administrator Mark Brennan’s recommendation to use CitySpaces Consulting to lead two meetings in March.

One was to have been an open house or “fair;” the second, a stakeholders’ meeting.

But after opponents at the meeting argued that CitySpaces has a bias in favour of secondary suites – an opinion echoed by Coun. John Herbert – Brennan revised his recommendation this week.

“There is the potential for a perceived bias,” he said at Monday’s council meeting. “It might be more prudent to get several (proposals).”

The majority of councillors agreed, asking him to proceed with the revised plans and report back.

CitySpaces did not return phone calls from the News by deadline.

Brennan’s estimate of between $5,000 and $10,000 to organize the meetings has also been updated. He said he will have a better idea of cost once proposals are received from potential consulting firms. That will likely take a month, he added.

Coun. Allan Cassidy emphasized the need to address the open house as an event rather than as a “fair.”

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com