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LETTER: Bike lanes must take a back seat to Oak Bay’s other needs

(Black Press Media file photo)

Oak Bay council’s financial plan is addressing the district’s hundreds of millions of infrastructure deficit with five years of tax increases of at most 10 per cent. Much of the “crumbling” infrastructure issues are the result of long-standing neglect of our roads, water pipes and sewer pipes. The Plan is just that – a plan – with much uncertainty about the numbers.

Before the March 28 committee of the whole meeting (COW) council members were given a consultants’ report which examined our water pipes. At the meeting, Coun. Green reminded councillors of a major finding: “ 52 kilometres of our water pipes are in need of major repair.” The obvious conclusion is that the water pipes must be replaced as soon as possible. For efficiency, we must replace the sewer pipes at the same time.

Despite this report and our horrendous debt, Couns. Appleton, Watson, and Smart persisted in demanding the resources for bike lanes at the level discussed at the March 25 COW (leading to a 10.4% budget increase). Fortunately, they were outvoted by the mayor and Couns. Braithwaite, Green and Patterson, and a reduced amount was set aside.

It is clear that Oak Bay’s present needs – fix our roads, water pipes and sewer pipes – trump our wants of expedited bikes lanes. Also probably other wants. Carnarvon Park upgrades?

Mike Wilmut

Oak Bay