Oak Bay OCP review inspires passion from residents

Council approved the new official community plan

If comments from the crowd Tuesday hold true, Oak Bay council will create the next set of tools for the official community plan under the watchful eyes of residents.

Council approved the new OCP with 20-plus people on hand just before 10 p.m. Sept. 9 at Monterey Recreation Centre. The crowd swelled at one point to fill the roughly 150 chairs set up and nearly 30 people spoke over the approximately four hours of public hearing and subsequent special council meeting where they unanimously approved the bylaw to replace the 1997 OCP.

The hot topic was clearly the possibility of densification, as about half the speakers directly opposed the concept in the OCP.

“More people, more cars, more problems,” seemed to be a mantra for those opposed to growth in the community.

“We shouldn’t be doing things that supplies more rentals,” said resident Patrick Skillings.

“I think we’re all going to be saddened in Oak Bay by the loss of what we enjoy, which is space.”

While Skillings suggested council shouldn’t “change something that isn’t broken,” speaker Mike Miller was supportive of the review, citing changes in the world since 1997.

He noted the wording “reasonable change is open for discussion” and the words sensitive and innovative set a high bar for potential developers.

One Monterey Avenue resident spoke of her desire to preserve the heritage of Oak Bay, which, Carla Perry explained, she’d ascertained from a longtime resident in her block. That resident can name most of the residents back to the 1950s, back then it was primarily large families. Now there are only three homes with children.

“There’s less than half the population on my street than 50 years ago,” she said. “I don’t want to live in a museum. … I see my street shrinking and growing old.”

Paul Woods was adamant that the OCP, designed as a framework offered too much leeway, but that wasn’t his biggest concern.

“This council is not listening to what people are saying,” he said. “A plan is only as good as the people carrying it out. … It is after all just a statement of intent.”

Pat Wilson voiced densification concerns as well, but offered the balance of a solution revisited by a few other speakers – the expectation to participate when bylaw changes arise. Bylaw changes require public participation by law.

Parks and green space

A couple of residents spoke about a lack of specific protection for areas such as Uplands Park and Anderson Hill.

“They are special areas and we need to protect them from development … from over tourism,” said Kathleen Matthews. “Those two special places need some special designation.”

That too, is an area where residents can have more input in the future, staff responded later in the meeting. The plan is to create a parks and recreation master plan, a topic that needs to go before council for budget and resource discussions.

Coffee at Henderson

Traffic and other concerns about a designation for possible commercial/residential mix at the corner of Henderson and Cedar Hill X roads hit the podium a couple of times over traffic concerns. That corner is designated as potential for commercial use but would require a rezoning process through council, staff explained.

Fall election looms

A handful of residents alluded to the upcoming election. Opposed to increasing density in the community, one Beach Drive resident referred to a time when apartment buildings were approved in what’s now his neighbourhood.

“When I moved here in the mid-1970s there was a new mayor,” he said. “The old mayor and council had been sent packing.”

 

Just Posted

Trial date delayed in case of slain Oak Bay sisters

Case of Andrew Berry, charged in deaths of daughters, will reconvene in three weeks

GALLERY: Snow Day in Oak Bay

Giant snowmen, tobogganing, and a quiet golf course

BC SPCA proposes fines for animal mistreatment, reduction in commercial trade

Animal welfare group’s ideas brought to Victoria councillors

Duncan family says care home switched mom’s cat with robot cat

Staff alleged to have said they were taking cat for bath, then replaced her with robotic stuffed toy

New Victoria graving dock will offer high-paying jobs

New facility will reuse and treat any water required for repair process

GALLERY: Snow Day in Oak Bay

Giant snowmen, tobogganing, and a quiet golf course

Suspected serial killer targeting Toronto gay community now faces six murder charges

Bruce McArthur now charged with murders of six men: Toronto police

Trump suggests more guns in schools to combat shootings

Trump floats two-step plan for gun control: More guns, more control

Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Russian Bobsled Federation states a drug-test sample that pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva gave on Sunday was positive.

Pearkes opens doors to home renovation and decor expo

Plenty of ideas for homeowners at Victoria Early Spring Home Expo running Friday through Sunday

Indigenous leaders call for change after ‘system fails’ Tina Fontaine

‘All of us should be ashamed’: Calls for change after jury finds Raymond Cormier not guilty

Atwal fiasco dogs Trudeau; PM pledges a ‘conversation’ with MP responsible

Trudeau is being peppered with questions about the lingering controversy

Germany upsets Canada in Olympic men’s hockey

Germany 4 Canada 3; Germans play OAR for gold; Canada and Czechs go for bronze

Suspect and Mountie bitten by police dog during arrest near Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

Most Read