New council set to review, revamp advisory groups

Oak Bay council will consider adding an advisory planning committee to its roster of advisory groups

Oak Bay council will consider adding an advisory planning committee to its roster of advisory groups after a review by chief administrative officer Helen Koning.

“As part of this review of existing Oak Bay committees, it has come to light that one planning-oriented advisory body that council may wish to consider is an advisory planning commission (or committee) which is commonly established in many municipalities,” wrote Koning. “An APC advises council on all matters respecting land use, community planning and proposed bylaws and permits. If an applicant is involved, the opportunity must be provided for them to attend and present, if desired, to the APC prior to motions being made for council review.”

The purpose of the report was to detail the existing advisory bodies now established in Oak Bay, analyze their relevancy and perhaps suggest changes and improvements. Council will revisit its volunteer committees and commissions and evaluate the mandates and resources to ensure that they are effective, efficient, transparent and meeting consistent procedures.

“We did have a lot of growing pans these last three years,” said Coun. Michelle Kirby, who was liaison to the active transportation advisory committee, that felt challenged to get meeting minutes online. “This is all part of the transparency issue that came up during the election.”

Council opted to seek the top priorities from the active transportation advisory committee and environmental advisory committee for consideration during council’s strategic priority sessions scheduled for Jan. 21 and 22.

Once configuration of advisory groups is approved, staff will prepare and update consistent written terms of reference and budgets for all bodies under the auspices of municipal council for review and approval. Council will also ask staff to provide a report on various models to establish an advisory planning committee or commission for the District of Oak Bay including the creation of a terms of reference, budget, rules of procedure, appointments of a council liaison and staff support for early 2015.