It is disturbing that during their three-year term Oak Bay council has chosen to take courses of action that are not always in the best interests of residents. Council pushed through an excessive-development Official Community Plan in just over a year and a quarter. They approved an apartment block that was much too large for the lot, while ignoring community opposition, as well as parking and buffer zone requirements. Council’s record shows they had a 92 per cent approval rate on all variance requests – many of which were opposed.
On the other hand, council has been aware that for four years now many homeowners, from all over Oak Bay, have complained about a zoning mistake that allowed large, intrusive houses on small lots.
Then, three weeks before this upcoming election, council approved a large duplex on a small lot. However, in order to approve this duplex proposal, council arbitrarily changed our zoning bylaw to approve duplexes in Oak Bay.
At a Nov. 4 all-candidates meeting, many of the incumbent candidates’ statements did not reflect the policies and legislation that would be required to control both the proposed additional multi-family housing on existing lots or, the new population and congestion this will bring. None of the incumbents at the meeting explained where the dollars would come from to provide all of the extensive infrastructure upgrades that will be included with this extensive densification. The Official Community Plan refers to acquiring these required costs as “challenges”. This is particularly disturbing as no other municipality has been able to successfully introduce these densification measures without substantial disruption and expense to existing taxpayers.
It has also escaped council’s attention that for several years now, the Union of B.C. Municipalities has complained to the provincial government it is seriously under-funding municipal infrastructure costs. This council has set the stage for turning all of Oak Bay (except Uplands) into a multi-dwelling community – this will have dramatic implications. We should therefore choose our next council very wisely.
Anthony Mears (no relation to candidate)