LETTER: How would residents suggest Oak Bay spend $1.7 million? 

Why did council spend money to buy property near Oak Bay village?

I obviously missed the July 5 news when I was on holidays. On this day the Oak Bay News reported the municipality bought 1538 Monterey Ave. for $1.7 million using taxpayers’ money. The Dec. 30 issue highlighted the purchase again for the 2016 Year in Review article.

In the July 5 article, the mayor was quoted as saying ,“We look forward, in due course, to discussing with the community how this property might best contribute to the future of the Oak Bay village area.”

With few specifics, the article also mentioned the purchase was a key strategic priority for the municipality.

My question is this: Why should $1.7 million of taxpayer money benefit just the Oak Bay village core area

The $1.7 million could be could be used for other purposes and benefit other parts of the community. It could improve roads and old bus shelters; expand or improve existing park space; improve playgrounds or dog park areas; install more bike racks around the community; or improve sidewalks.

In fact, how about implementing some tax relief initiatives for Oak Bay citizens, considering we are faced with tax increases due to major capital infrastructure projects?

I’m confident this list would expand if Oak Bay citizens were asked for their suggestions.

Combined with the other property bordering on Theatre Lane, it seems expanded parking is the strategic priority for the municipality.

If so, that is one very expensive parking lot. If not, more questions need to be asked about the $1.7 million purchase and why this asset is important for the future of the Oak Bay Avenue corridor.

I agree with the mayor’s comment about starting a conversation. However, let’s reframe the conversation by asking the citizens of Oak Bay what they would like to do with the $1.7 million.

David Blacoe

Oak Bay