Oak Bay is among the busiest branches of the Greater Victoria Public Library.
In 2014 the Monterey Avenue space was the busiest branch per square foot and ranked third in circulated items at 70,000, said Maureen Sawa. Programs increased 19 per cent, according to the GVPL CEO, on hand Monday night to present Oak Bay council with the library’s 2015 budget.
“We feel we are the pulse of the community through the outreach programs,” she said.
Oak Bay approved its share – $1,002,255 – for the 2015 budget. The municipal contribution increase dropped to 3.94 per cent from the 4.35 per cent presented in the provisional budget earlier.
The increase is the minimum to maintain current library service levels, Sawa said.
TC half marathon OK’d
The April 26 event that runs through Oak Bay streets was approved with all the usual special event specifications.
Victoria International Running Society would provide insurance, pay municipal costs incurred by the event and obtain Oak Bay Police approval for a traffic plan as well as providing sufficient notice to residents on the route.
Gas tax application has implications
Oak Bay will apply for some funds through UBCM for a pair of projects in the community.
Staff will apply through the Union of B.C. Municipalities for a grant to cover three years worth of road work as identified in Oak Bay’s Pavement Management Program at an estimated cost of $3.9 million, and for funding of the engineering design costs for the Uplands Sewer Separation Project at an estimated cost of $1.5 million.
A successful application for the engineering costs related to the Uplands Sewer Separation Project would mean retaining reserves for use in later phases of the project.
Grant applications head for budget
A series of community projects and societies will head for the estimates committee for budget discussion.
Requests from NEED2 Suicide Prevention Education and Support ($1,500), City of Victoria ($1,500 for Canada Day festivities), Oak Bay Sea Rescue ($2,500), Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia ($5,000), Friends of Uplands Park ($2,000 and $5,000 for its Cattle Point Marine kiosk project) and the Community Association of Oak Bay ($2,670 for operations and $13,813 for its Sno’uyutth project).
The new grants policy was also perused, debated and eventually approved for use during this year’s budget discussions.
While Coun. Tom Croft reiterated concern and offered some alternate wording to suggest preference be given to those with official society designation, council as a whole agreed to add a stipulation to the grants policy that would be reviewed after utilization this year.
The estimates committee, where Oak Bay’s budget is determined, held its first meeting Thursday and is set to meet again April 8 and 15 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at municipal hall, 2167 Oak Bay Ave.
Eliminator triathlon rejected
Based strictly on its bylaws, Oak Bay declined the Eliminator Triathlon application for July at Willows Beach, backing the information provided by Oak Bay Recreation Commission.
“The bylaw we have in front of us is not to have commercial activity in the park,” said Coun. Kevin Murdoch. He said despite being a fantastic event, the type Oak Bay “should be looking for,” the strictly commercial component limited council’s options to denying the request or changing bylaws.
Mayor Nils Jensen sought clarification on other events that have business association, such as the MEC Paddlefest. Staff explained those have commercial affiliation but are run through non-profit organizations.
Public hearings set for heritage properties
Council read a pair of bylaws to create heritage designation. They would add 2470 Bowker Ave. and 1220 Transit Rd. to the community heritage registry. Public hearings for both will be held April 13 at 7:30 p.m. at municipal hall, 2167 Oak Bay Ave.