Editorial: Conservation area a valuable piece of the heritage puzzle

One of the most significant challenges of municipal government is weighing the many requests for funding

One of the most significant challenges of municipal government is weighing the many requests for funding against the expectation of taxpayers that council provide value for their tax dollars.

Some, like the Uplands sewer separation and sewage treatment, are deemed “must-dos.” Others fall under the “want” category and the benefit they bring to the municipality and its residents must be weighed against the cost.

It could be argued – and some likely will – that with the various other “needs” on the agenda, this isn’t the time to invest thousands more in a Heritage Conservation Area.

But it is an investment.

Numerous residents from Oak Bay’s oldest neighbourhood – Prospect Place, York Place, Beach Drive, San Carlos and a small segment of Oak Bay Avenue – filled the gallery at municipal hall Dec. 5 as resident Michael Prince pitched the HCA to council.

“The time is now – we are at a pivotal point,” Prince said in asking council to retain a heritage consultant and move forward on an HCA. “We think we all benefit, the entire community.”

Local governments can create a Heritage Conservation Area that establishes regulatory guidelines and may list individual properties for protection. Council agreed to consider the proposal when sifting through the coming year’s budget in the new year.

The proposed HCA is in line with official community plan priorities, has support from the community Heritage Foundation and Heritage Commission and the support of about 80 per cent of area residents.

Heritage in its many forms is a significant part of what gives Oak Bay its unique character, and what draws people to live here. The $50,000 to $70,000 estimated cost of the exercise is money well-spent in the quest to preserve Oak Bay’s heritage.

The neighbourhood in question is home to 11 of the 28 heritage-designated houses in Oak Bay and residents hope to protect elements ranging from history and architecture to landscape and viewscapes.

The proposed HCA is another piece of the ongoing discussion about preserving Oak Bay’s character. It’s not the entire solution but done well, has the opportunity to lead the way in Oak Bay and the region.

 

Just Posted

Victoria mayor preparing to tour Alberta oil sands

Lisa Helps heads to Alberta after an invitation came from Calgary councillor Ward Sutherland

Canadian Premier League announces media partnership with international broadcaster

Langford Mayor Stew Young said partnership is a “big deal” for Langford

UPDATE: Saanich Police respond to weapons incident on Veron Avenue

Police are asking the public to avoid 800-block until further notice

Canada’s first home game in the America Rugby Championships comes this Friday

It’s Canada versus Chile Feb. 22 at Westhills Stadium in Langford

Canadians spent more than $8 billion on pet-related items in 2017

Fifty-seven per cent of Canadian households own pets

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Australian woman killed in avalanche at Whistler

The woman and her partner were reportedly rescued by ski patrol, but she did not survive

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Most Read