Who ya gonna call?

Report addressing complaints doesn’t recommend releasing Oak Bay councillor contact information

A new website, public meetings four times a year, and broadcasted council meetings. Just three ideas an eight-member ad hoc municipal committee has come up with to improve relations between Oak Bay’s political leaders and the public.

Submitted to and approved by council on April 3, the community engagement working group’s 47-page report resulted from three months of study. The group was struck in January, in response to increasing discontent expressed at town hall meetings over poor communication between the powers that be and those that don’t in Oak Bay.

Chaired by newly elected Coun. Cairine Green, the group’s report makes a number of recommendations but estimates a budget for just two items, updating and maintenance for a new website. (The municipality recently approved $53,000 toward a website upgrade at its annual financial estimates sessions.)

At the meeting councillors – Mayor Nils Jensen was absent – expressed overwhelming satisfaction with the report. Coun. Tara Ney found the report “thoughtful and well-organized” although she did ask how the findings could be prioritized.

Coun. Kevin Murdoch co-chaired the working group and admitted that the report was “ridiculous in terms of length” but that the top five priorities were listed. They include information sharing, electronic and interactive communication as well as interactive public engagement, celebrating and enhancing community engagment and improving accessiblity.

In addition to a new website – which full agenda packages will be posted on, a new practice – priorities incorporate providing video screens in the municipal hall foyer for overflowing council meetings and coordinating community events with business and community associations.

But residents may still be out of luck if they want to telephone councillors or the mayor. Unlike their counterparts in other towns and cities, Oak Bay councillors’ telephone contact information is not posted on the municipal website and there are no plans to include that information on the new website. Green would personally like to have her number listed, but due to staffing concerns that detail is currently not on the table, a detail Coun. Tara Ney says should be.

“Look at Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria  and Ladysmith – they all have councillor contacts on their websites,” she said following the meeting. “If there are any legal issues, let’s iron the kinks out and get on with it.”

No timelines, other than for the upgraded website which should be done this year, are provided in the report which will be reviewed by council on an annual basis.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read