Council News in Brief Jan. 28

  • Jan. 27, 2011 8:00 p.m.

Deck plan approved after long debate

It was a rare sight at Oak Bay council: all six councillors and two residents crowded together poring over some poorly rendered drawings.

Beach Drive resident Tess Van Straaten was requesting a zoning variance for a deck she and her husband want to build, but the hand drawings she supplied had inconsistent measurements.

Two previous decks were built on the side of the mid-century home, but have long since been dismantled.

Neither of those was built close to the property line. But the new one is set to be just 1.67 metres from the line. That bothered neighbour Barbara Gosh. The senior stayed for the evening discussion at council to protest the variance request.

“We are smack up against the proposed deck,” she told councillors, adding her kitchen bay window looked over the deck.

Van Straaten resorted to passing around a new drawing to councillors to illustrate her need for a covered deck from her garage to back door.

“I can’t see what difference five or 10 feet from the property line will make,” Coun. Allan Cassidy surmised after a 40-minute discussion on the issue. Five other councillors agreed and Van Straaten was granted a variance to build the deck.

Town square proposed

On his many stops in France during vacations to Europe over the years Coun. John Herbert has noticed every town has a town square.

Although the idea of building one on Oak Bay Avenue has been tossed about, first for millennium celebrations in 2000 and again for the municipality’s 2006 centennial, it hasn’t taken place.

The idea was brought up again by Herbert this week at council.

The municipal lawn would be the likeliest location, he said. Camosun College or University of Victoria urban planning or geography students could be approached to work on a design, perhaps through a contest, he added.

With fewer grants available, funding will be a challenge.

“But if you have a project the community is behind, you can always find someone to help you,” Herbert said.

He would like to see a town square in place by the summer of 2013.

And another one’s gone

go-ahead this week to have a heritage designation removed from her 1890s-era cottage at 2030 Milton St.

Contractors had confirmed that Patterson’s house had such extensive dry rot that it wasn’t worth repairing. She wanted to have the house torn down and the lot sold.

At a public hearing Monday night, one Oak Bay resident spoke out against the application, saying too many heritage homes were disappearing. But council agreed not much could be done with the cottage and approved the request.