Hampshire lot use a hot topic

The property was considered by council for a parking lot in 2007

A little house on a little lot behind CIBC on the Avenue is up for discussion by council this fall.

Oak Bay bought the property at 1531 Hampshire Rd. in 1990, acting as a landlord for the single family residence since.

“We want to ask our residents to help us. … What is the best use for this piece of property?” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “It can be anywhere from a small park to a bicycle parking lot to a private sale to some kind of a municipal building.”

The property was considered by council for a parking lot in 2007. That never came to fruition.

“It was bought for parking,” said Coun. John Herbert, who still holds concern for parking in the village. “Parking to me is something we need to maintain.”

With a nearly 28 per cent senior population and families driving to and fro for activities, the need for parking won’t diminish, he said.

“I’m hopeful we don’t sell it,” he said, noting it could be developed into a little park. “If we never need parking, it’s a beautiful green space. If we need parking, we have it.”

Council asked municipal staff to canvass the public in search of ideas for the space, to learn what it hopes to see there.

“My one area I’m leaning away from is to use it as a parking lot. I think that is probably not the highest and best use for the property,” Jensen said. “I think the general sense is that the core of the village has enough parking. That we can put a better use to this lot.”

Where Herbert and Jensen agree is that the house on the lot is in poor condition, and would require a significant investment to renovate.

Staff have already seen some input from the public and expect to have a report back to council this fall.

“I’m sure there’s lots of people out there who have given thought to this,” Jensen said.

Submit input via email to obcouncil@oakbay.ca, or by dropping off a letter at the municipal hall, 2167 Oak Bay Ave.

What do you think?

Give us your comments by email: editor@oakbaynews.com. All letters must have a name and a telephone number for verification.