Tent city moved from Oak Bay Municipal Hall to Willows Park at Willows Beach to protest the lack of affordable housing. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News) Two years after Roaming Tent City spent time at Oak Bay Municipal Hall and Willows Beach, the lack of affordable housing in Oak Bay is a key finding in the new Housing Needs Study. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Study shows Oak Bay’s dwindling population is rapidly aging

Housing Needs Study says Oak Bay facing a shortfall of 349 bedrooms

Oak Bay is shrinking and aging at the same time according to a provincially mandated Housing Needs Study released to the Tweed City this week.

Oak Bay is among the first towns in B.C. to receive the study and council will soon decide what to do with it. On Monday night Oak Bay council sent the 46-page report back for a few amendments of “clarity and additional data,” said Mayor Kevin Murdoch.

The Housing Needs Study, produced by planning consultants Urban Matters, noted Oak Bay’s median age of 52.4 is “much higher than the CRD’s median age of 44.8.”

“Between 2006 and 2016, the number of [Oak Bay] residents under 65 declined by 1,050, while the number of residents 65 and over grew by 880 residents,” the report says.

The report also asserts that Oak Bay is missing the ‘middle housing’ piece of affordable, rental, singles and family housing. It adds up to a current estimated shortage of 349 bedrooms to make up for its share of the housing shortfall in Greater Victoria. This is based on a projected 1.1 per cent growth and relative building development, said Murdoch.

It should be noted that these are occupied bedrooms and does not address that Oak Bay’s proliferation of empty bedrooms.

“Keep in mind we’ve had a projected growth rate of 0.5 per cent in the OCP since 1996,” Murdoch said. “And we’ve never come close to that.”

READ ALSO: Supportive, low-income housing doesn’t hurt nearby property values, says B.C. study

The report also projects a need for 647 more bedrooms within five years.

While Oak Bay was among the first wave of all municipalities in B.C. to order the study, the report’s key findings will not prompt Oak Bay council into any immediate action, Murdoch noted.

The reality is Oak Bay is bereft of options, Murdoch noted.

The Corporation’s district land is all used up for parks, buildings, services and parking lots.

“Ultimately this report is a baseline,” Murdoch said. “We will use it with the secondary suites study and housing studies to create our future development and housing plan, which we want to complete this [election] term.”

Back in April the province mandated all municipalities and regional districts in B.C. to have the report completed by April 2022.

For consistency purposes, the study is based on data from BC Assessment, BC Housing, BC Stats, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Statistics Canada Census.

The report comes at a time of polarizing arguments as Oak Bay is expected to decrease in population by 500 people over the next 20 years (according to CRD’s 2018 regional growth strategy) while the rest of the region balloons.

In the past few years, Oak Bay council has denied a series of multi-unit development projects that would have added hundreds of bedrooms.

The Quest 15-unit condo proposal on Oak Bay Avenue was denied in 2017 (a new application has been submitted nearly two metres lower and with a penthouse removed), while the Clive developers reduced their proposal from 23 suites to 19.

There’s also the United Church’s 96-unit mixed housing development proposal (including affordable housing) that they essentially gave up on due to public backlash but plan on bringing back.

Housing Needs Study numbers:

– The cost of a single-family home grew in Oak Bay by 48 per cent from 2010 to 2018 while household income only rose 12 per cent.

– The number of renter households in Oak Bay decreased from 2,090 households in 2006 to 1,830 households in 2016

– The number of 1,080 primary rental units in Oak Bay is a static number

reporter@oakbaynews.com

– This story was updated on Dec. 13 to correct two errors regarding development applications. The United Church abandoned its original application for the 96-unit mixed housing project before it made it to council. The Clive proposal’s reduction from 23 to 19 suites was not a council ask. We regret the error.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria man charged in stabbing death of Vancouver overdose prevention worker

Maximus Roland Hayes, 23, is facing one count of manslaughter in connection to the killing

Langford theft investigation leads to national crime ring

More than $250,000 in stolen goods recovered, $67,000 in cash seized

VicPD uses non-lethal rounds to remove woman barricaded in stranger’s basement

The woman is believed to have broken into a dealership, attempting to steal a vehicle earlier in the evening

Electrical fault results in Saanich hydro pole fire

BC Hydro crews on scene repairing damage well into the early morning hours

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Devil’s Hand Poker Run in Campbell River to face RCMP scrutiny

The Campbell River RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the… Continue reading

B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Missed rent payments because of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

Most Read