Survey reports support for Oak Bay Lodge redevelopment

The Oak Bay Lodge redevelopment is under close scrutiny by residents

A majority of Oak Bay residents support the plan for the redevelopment of Oak Bay Lodge as a 320-bed senior care facility, according to a recent survey.

The telephone survey, released by developer Baptist Housing, found that 80 per cent of people surveyed support the proposed $80 million redevelopment of the Lodge, while 13 per cent oppose it.

Oak Bay residents east of Foul Bay Road were surveyed but were not asked for their specific street names, said Deanna Bogart, vice-president of marketing and communications for Baptist Housing.

The survey was conducted by Mustel Group Market Research between March 5 and 25.

Of 200 Oak Bay residents surveyed, 46 per cent said they strongly support the plan, while six per cent strongly oppose it.

The survey was conducted to show how familiar Oak Bay residents are with the proposal, Bogart said, adding that the people who oppose the plan are likely immediate neighbours of the Lodge.

Bogart said she believes previous efforts, such as meetings with immediate neighbours and mail-out cards, have helped to inform residents.

“We’ve been very careful that we don’t want to be persuasive so much as presenting the facts,” she said.

However, Oak Bay resident Michael Donald said the survey seemed askew.

“It was vague. It didn’t give any information as to the new building, the size or the scope of it,” he said. “It didn’t address any negative aspects.”

The surveyor would not disclose who the survey was being conducted for, Donald added.

Donald lives on the corner of Bowker Avenue and Hampshire Road, just a few hundred feet away from the Lodge, located at 2251 Cadboro Bay Rd.

While Donald was not surveyed, his wife was. Once the surveyor talked to her, they said they did not need to speak to Donald because he did not fit the given age range, he told the News.

Donald stood next to his wife and listened while she answered the survey questions, he explained.

The survey seemed biased because it asked questions not everybody would be aware of, Donald said, adding not all residents are informed about the actual size, structure, and use of the building.

“We were told … it was a four-storey structure that’s in place, when in fact it’s mostly a three-storey structure,” Donald said. “I don’t think the people that were surveyed understood that the building is going to be almost twice the size of the existing building.”

Donald is opposed to the proposed plan because “it’s too big and it affects too many homes adjacent to it,” he said.

The proposal for the new residential care building, to be named Garry Oaks Village, consists of five- and six-storey buildings.

The plan was introduced to council last November and has been rejected twice, in November and March. It cannot move forward until gaining variance permits from council.

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