Grill candidates on specifics

There is no proof whatsoever that filming left any net benefit to Oak Bay,

Perhaps the most telling comment on the Official Community Plan in your report OCP review inspires passion from residents (News Sept. 12) was this from a resident: “A plan is only as good as the people carrying it out.”

Recently we saw an instance of this over the doubtless well-intentioned plan to place pianos around Oak Bay, and allow them to interrupt residents’ sleep by exempting the pianos from the noise bylaw.

Earlier this year, on a much larger scale, Oak Bay council decided to turn part of South Oak Bay into a temporary industrial zone, by allowing a well-heeled U.S. film network to violate numerous bylaws, including those governing home businesses, parking and other legal restrictions that apply to mere residents and taxpayers of Oak Bay.

Young families were kept awake till after 1 a.m. with the noise from generators, klieg lights lit up the inside of homes brighter than daylight till the small hours, and endless rows of trucks and their guardians occupied our streets through the night.

The paid flacks for the U.S. network claimed millions were spent here. But city staff readily admit that no cost-benefit analysis was ever done. So there is no proof whatsoever that there was any net benefit to Oak Bay, after taking into account the businesses that lost revenue or the significant social cost of such disruption to residents’ lives. It is just spin.

As if to add insult to injury, while all this was going on, on March 24, Oak Bay council awarded $10,000 of those same residents’ supposedly precious tax dollars to the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission, an organization that lobbies to inflict these activities on residents. All of this was done without the consent of those most affected.

Taxpayers might want to ask candidates in the forthcoming Oak Bay elections about these ill-advised decisions.

Russ Francis

Oak Bay