Task force to tackle heritage housing concerns

Group’s first report back to council is expected to come in June

A number of Oak Bay’s older homes have found a new life elsewhere

A number of Oak Bay’s older homes have found a new life elsewhere

A four-person mayor’s task force will tackle the issue of heritage home loss in Oak Bay.

Mayor Nils Jensen announced the approach during Monday night’s council meeting.

“This is an issue for our constituents. We’ve heard from our residents in the coffeeshops and in the street,” Jensen said. “It is a matter that deserves a measured and thoughtful approach … this is a complex area.”

The task force includes chair Coun. Kevin Murdoch, Coun. Eric Zhelka, Jan Mears, of the Heritage Commission, and Tim Taddy, of the Advisory Planning Commission.

The foursome is tasked with identifying the “extent of the problem,” learning what the numbers are as well as those in comparative communities.

They will also seek tools available to Oak Bay to preserve heritage in the community and outline the next steps council could take.

The task force is to report by the end of June, even if it’s an interim report seeking more time.

In light of the task force, Zhelka withdrew his motion to ask the Heritage Commission, APC and staff to explore planning and land use measures that address demolition and removal of heritage homes.