Oak Bay committee sits with the people

Visitors to Oak Bay council chambers will notice a new seating arrangement during municipal committee of the whole meetings.

  • Apr. 27, 2012 4:00 p.m.
Mayor Nils Jensen and Oak Bay administrator Mark Brennan sit side by side at a committee of the whole meeting April  16. Jensen implemented a new seating arrangement designed to promote better communication between councillors

Mayor Nils Jensen and Oak Bay administrator Mark Brennan sit side by side at a committee of the whole meeting April 16. Jensen implemented a new seating arrangement designed to promote better communication between councillors

Visitors to Oak Bay council chambers will notice a new seating arrangement during municipal committee of the whole meetings.

Instead of presiding from their usual chairs on the raised dais at the north end of the chamber room, councillors and the mayor now sit at a boardroom table.

Staff sit elbow to elbow with councillors, and citizens addressing council are invited to sit at the table. It’s part of Mayor Nils Jensen’s efforts to improve communication.

“Some people were intimidated by having to stand up in front of a microphone before us,” he said. “I wanted to create an open and friendly setting where people could sit at the table with neighbours, applicants and anyone who’s interested in speaking with us.”

The new seating plan will be reviewed after six months.

Cairns get prettied up

Six Oak Bay heritage monuments will be more attractive with the addition of soon-to-be-planted native plant gardens. Thanks to Oak Bay resident Marion Cumming and designer Louise Goulet, a planting plan has been drafted for the gardens that will encircle Lekwungen First Nations cairns.

Cumming had organized placement of the cairns over the past five years that include cast carvings by First Nation carver Charles Elliott. The Oak Bay parks department will prepare and maintain the garden sites, which will be planted by volunteers with more than 300 native plants donated by Cumming and the Pacific Forestry Centre.

A further three cairns may have gardens built in the future.

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