MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Hazel Braithwaite

Candidate for the mayor's position in the 2011 municipal election in Oak Bay

Hazel Braithwaite

Age: 52

Occupation: Senior learning advisor at Coast Capital Savings

Family status: Married to Rod with one daughter, Lauren

Lived in the community: 22 years

Years on council: Six years

What key issues do you want addressed by council?

Continued fiscal prudence to ensure that our property taxes stay at a reasonable and responsible level.

Update and compliance to the Official Community Plan, which has not been updated for almost 15 years. Residents want a plan that works and they want council decisions that are aligned with and respectful of the plan.

It is clear that residents are not happy with the way council communicates with them and vice versa. Citizens want more town hall meetings, a better website and timely access to agendas, minutes and documentation.

The urban deer problem has grown to significant proportions and Oak Bay residents require that something be done.

How do you hope to alleviate those concerns?

One of the most important things I will bring to council is a non-partisan, open-minded ability to listen – and to follow up by initiating appropriate action. I know that I can bring diverse groups together to develop consensus solutions. I will improve communications with more town hall meetings and website improvements. I will lead a comprehensive and thorough process of updating our community plan, incorporating the direct involvement of residents in all the various sub-committees and decisions. I believe we could benefit significantly from the acquisition of a planner with urban and heritage credentials.

What accomplishments are you most proud of on council, either individually or as a group?

I am very proud of my work on the Oak Bay High school project, including the Neighbourhood Learning Centre. The NLC is going to be a wonderful addition to Oak Bay that will enhance our parks and rec programs for all residents. I am also proud of being the council representative on the parks and rec commission and all that we have accomplished over the past three years. I created the Young Exceptional Star Awards which celebrate youth in our community. Also, I have championed the protection and preservation of Oak Bay’s heritage and environment including the endangered species in Uplands Park and the mapping of the native burial cairns. On a personal level, I am proud of the way I have been a steady advocate for consistent bylaw enforcement and OCP compliance.

If you are elected mayor, what goal would be at the top of your list?

Every council inherits issues. By the end of a council’s term there are always ongoing issues, works in progress, etc., that will continue into the next council’s mandate. Often this is because community issues of importance take time to fully appreciate; to examine all points of view, and to give all interested parties an opportunity to have their say.  If I become the next mayor, I will work diligently to create, in every case, a consensus in the best public interest. One topic that really pulls a lot of the issues together would be to pursue the OCP review in a truly resident-driven way – with council leadership and staff support – while maintaining a careful watch for all fiscal implications. I want to promote a respectful, inclusive Oak Bay that tries to balance the range of needs, seeking common ground and thoughtful, creative ways to do so.

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