• Oak Bay High unfortunately made headlines after a bullying incident ended the junior boys basketball team season.
A media storm erupted when the team was slated to start city championships. Piet Langstraat, superintendent Greater Victoria School District, told several media outlets that in January an inappropriate photo was taken during a road trip and was subsequently posted on social media. That resulted in significant bullying. While the season ended in a police file, there was no criminal investigation.
• Oak Bay reminded residents to “be aware and be observant,” after a girl reported being approached by a man in Windsor Park. Police were called around 7 p.m. Jan. 29 after a 10-year-old girl was approached by a man while she played with friends. She told police the man approached her and she felt afraid and uncomfortable. She called out to her friends and they all went to the girl’s home to tell her parents. The girl was not harmed.
• Oak Bay Firefighter John Ballantyne gathered donations as he prepared to be among a crew of 13 from Canada and the U.S. deployed with Firefighters Without Boarders Canada to for Lima, Peru.
• Cairine Green asked council to explore options to provide temporary and/or transitional housing to Syrian refugee families seeking to settle in the municipality. Green called for a mayor’s task force or leadership team and a municipal staff report to outline what housing options, if any, are available, such as vacant legal in-law accommodation, vacant rental housing and the municipally owned house at 1531 Hampshire Rd.
While the property did not become housing for Syrian refugees, it started a months-long conversation on potential uses for municipally-owned properties, that continues in 2017.
• Bob Carter created a special gift as a thank you for the municipality to offer. He donated the first six works of art.
“The community and council appreciate the kind and generous donation of Bob Carter. Not only did he have the artistic vision but he had the kindness to donate six of these and we are very grateful,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. The first was presented to longtime staffer Loranne Hilton, who left Oak Bay to become CAO at the District of Highlands.
• Despite opening a day early with little publicity, the aisles were packed with shoppers getting a first look – and taste – of the new Red Barn Market on Oak Bay Avenue. At a little more than 6,000 square feet, the fifth store in the Red Barn Market family offers everything shoppers have come to count on, including an exceptional produce section and signature items from the markets’ smokehouse.
• Oak Bay’s municipal hall was one of 40 venues across B.C. that lit up in purple as part of the Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness campaign’s third annual event in support of eating disorder awareness.
• Greater Victoria School District approved an alternative to the usual turf for the Oak Bay High field after parents raised health concerns about the use of crumb rubber pellets commonly used as underlay for artificial turf.
• Vancouver Island-Central Coast finished fifth at the BC Games with 53 medals: 14 gold, 23 silver and 16 bronze.
Figure skater Emily Walzak of View Royal, who regularly trains in Oak Bay was among the gold medal winners.
Oak Bay’s Horwood twins finished in the top four with Christopher skating a personal best – his goal for these Games – and earned bronze medal in the process.
The zone’s rhythm gymnastics team achieved its goal as well at the Games – do do well in the team competition. The Vancouver Island – Central Coast foursome finished second. Willows elementary student Elisabeth Foss (photo) and her teammates at Victoria Rhythmic Gymnastics Club, Michaela Brennan, Katherine Evans and Lily Williams, brought home a silver medal.