• The CRD received a six-month extension from PPP Canada, providing $83.4 million for the biosolids energy centre project. It is one of three federal funding partners helping pay for the region’s sewage project. The amended conditional financial agreement gave the CRD until Sept. 30 to make significant progress on a plan, primarily site selection, for the project.
• Mayor Nils Jensen openly opposed proposed changes to glass recycling after the CRD, faced with concerns over glass contaminating other recyclables, considered banning glass from blue bins. Glass containers have been collected as part of the CRD’s residential curbside blue box program since it began in 1988.
Later in the month, the CRD instead embarked on an education campaign after a sometimes heated board meeting.
“This has been a well-received service in Oak Bay and people have come to depend on it,” Jensen said. “We’re going to reach out to the bottlers of the region who were hoping to get more refillable bottles returned. We’ll reach out to them and look for an education program which will encourage that.”
• For the second consecutive year, the CRD approved its budget without Oak Bay represented at the table.
A conflict of interest concern that raised its head in 2015, reappeared to the mayor’s dismay.
“They’ve had more than a year to fix this problem and they have not done so,” Jensen said. “It’s not fair and it’s not right.”
A B.C. Court of Appeal decision on conflict of interest a few years ago tied the hands of many local politicians in smaller communities. The court found a pair of elected trustees were in conflict when they vote to approve grants to societies they were directors on, though they had no direct pecuniary interest.
“We’re not particularly unique, many community representatives are conflicted out of budget decisions throughout the region,” Jensen said.
• A four-person mayor’s group was tasked to tackle the issue of heritage home loss in Oak Bay.
“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 included chair Coun. Kevin Murdoch, Coun. Eric Zhelka, Jan Mears, of the Heritage Commission, and Tim Taddy, of the Advisory Planning Commission.
• Rotary Club of Oak Bay named three outstanding citizens as Paul Harris Fellows for Commitment to community service, science education and music appreciation. Oak Bay councillor and avid volunteer Hazel Braithwaite, author and broadcaster Bob McDonald, host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, and Tania Miller, music director of Victoria Symphony, were honoured at a sold-out celebration at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.
• An Oak Bay Fire Department honour guard stood watch as the mayor bid adieu to Deputy Chief Tom Pearse. He started May 1, 1988 as a probationary firefighter and retired April 30 as deputy chief.
“You exemplify our firefighting unit,” said Jensen, launching into a lengthy list of Pearse’s accomplishments and commitments, including serving as chair of the bursary committee, initiating the annual tree recycling, serving as CPR education chair and working with juvenile intervention.
Former assistant chief, Darren Hughes took over the deputy position May 1.
• The Oak Bay News finished third in the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards for Outstanding Community Service for its support and coverage of the grassroots Sno’uyutth project.
• Threshold Housing announced a partnership to open a home in Oak Bay. The organization that provides housing for young people, signed a five-year lease to use the church-owned building adjacent to Oak Bay United Church after meetings with the congregation and neighbourhood.
The housing society officially took over Aug. 1 with residents in place Sept. 1. Threshold targets youth age 16 to 24 in need of safe, secure and supported housing while they go to school or gain experience in the workforce. Youth are offered up to two years of transitional housing and programs.
• Council removed $30,000 tentatively earmarked for deer management during the final stages of budget talks.