Do you live in Oak Bay?
Yes. My wife, Jean, and I live in a 1949 renovated home on Oliver Street. We raised our two sons here. We are now empty-nesters with Nicholas working in Paris and Stewart in engineering at Queens. We chose our location because we wanted be close to the Village and a short bike ride to work. Our block is typical of South Oak Bay, beautifully treed, wide boulevards with an interesting mix of houses from almost every decade of the past hundred years. It is very friendly, welcoming – we love it here.
Is a deer cull necessary?
Yes. Oak Bay Council’s primary deer management goals are public safety and reducing deer/human conflict. Council approved the CRD/Oak Bay plan in November 2013 and confirmed its decision this October.
There is clearly an over-population of deer in Oak Bay. Human-deer conflicts have increased sharply over the past 5 years. Last year there were more deer deaths in Oak Bay than every before.
The over-population threatens the safety of our residents and their pets. In time, our environment will also be impacted much like the environmental devastation caused by deer on Sidney Island.
How do you see the future of development in Oak Bay (secondary suites, multi-family dwellings)?
The new Official Community Plan recently approved unanimously by Council sets out a vision for our future. The Plan was developed by our community through an extensive process of consultation. The Plan sets out a number of policies to determine what types of future development should be permitted while at the same time maintaining and protecting the character and richness of our established neighbourhoods. This will be a challenging balance for the community to strike. The first step will be to prepare a Housing Strategy and guidelines to identify needs, opportunities and options such as regulating suites and permitting duplexes.
What area of the OCP should be addressed first?
Part 6 of our new OCP sets out implementation actions along with a timetable that ranges from short-term actions (within 1-2 years) to the long-term (7 year+ horizon). The most challenging short-term task will be updating our Zoning Bylaws to reflect the vision of the Community Plan. As a prelude to embarking on zoning changes there needs to be consensus on an accessible and transparent process. This mirrors the first step taken in successfully renewing our OCP. The next priority would be to develop a Housing Strategy and guidelines that encompass suites, duplexes and multi-unit dwellings.
What is your vision for sewage treatment in Oak Bay?
I support the current proposal for a single plant. This is the most cost efficient and greenest alternative. The province and federal governments are prepared to provide $500 million of the approx. $750 million cost. A ‘distributed’ system of multiple small plants will mean the loss of the federal/provincial money and local taxpayers picking up the extra $500 million tab. The cost of a distributed system is estimated to be double the capital and operating costs. Our best hope is to find a nearby site to build the single plant as proposed.
What do you think is the most important issue to address in our community?
The requirement for sewage treatment is the single most important issue for Oak Bay taxpayers. The current proposed plant will cost each household approximately $400. Any other approach could double or even quadruple that cost. To ensure the best outcome for our community and the region, Oak Bay needs strong and experienced leadership at CRD table.