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Letter: Call to revisit renewed environment panel for Oak Bay

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Kudos to Oak Bay council for providing some much needed funding for the removal of Oak Bay’s derelict boats.

As they often do in small communities, volunteers lead the way and in this case, I understand that volunteers from Saanich and Oak Bay worked initially with the municipality of Saanich to remove boats within the Saanich boundary of Cadboro Bay. With the support earlier this year of local MLA Dr. Andrew Weaver and recent leadership from Acting Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch and Oak Bay council members, Oak Bay, like Saanich, has now stepped up with financial assistance.

Derelict boats and other environmental concerns in Oak Bay point to the need for a municipal environmental advisory body to provide advice, guidance and oversight to council on issues related to human activity and development impacts on our natural environments and landscapes. At the beginning of this council’s term, the former Environment Committee, established in 2012, was discontinued in favour of rolling environment into the work of Oak Bay’s Advisory Planning Commission. However, in my experience, a community like Oak Bay would benefit greatly from the complementary work of a stand-alone Environmental Advisory Commission made up of local volunteers with expertise in a variety of environmental fields.

I encourage mayor and council to re-visit their 2015 decision, particularly in view of recent community concerns about derelict boats on the foreshore, foreshore development and land use re-development that can jeopardizes green spaces, tree canopies and other natural habitats. A focus on environmental protection, especially in an age of significant climate change, would be a good policy decision that fits well with Oak Bay’s stated goals of enhancing our natural environments.

Cairine Green

Oak Bay