Letter: Infill strategy must remember residents’ condition of approval

Infill agreement contingent on potential issues being addressed

As the Oak Bay municipality develops its residential infill strategy, one of the comments I often hear, particularly from those clearly in favour of increased density is: “The community, through  the  official community plan (OCP),  supports infill in single-family residential neighbourhoods.”

The basis for such statements is generally cited as coming from page 17 of the OCP which states in part:

“Inclusion of duplexes (two units in one building) in existing single-family residential areas (69 per cent support);

Inclusion of townhouses / row houses in existing single-family residential areas (57 per cent support);

Inclusion of laneway / carriage homes / garden suites (detached, ground-oriented homes located in the backyard of a property with a single-family home as its primary use) in existing single- family residential areas (56 per cent support).”

These conclusions are based solely on Question 11 of the OCP survey: “Do you agree or disagree with the inclusion of the following housing types in existing single family residential areas? Assume that key issues such as tree protection, parking, traffic, noise, and neighbourhood character will be addressed.”

Omitting  the obviously critical condition “Assume that … will be addressed” from a summary of the community  survey and only including it as an OCP Housing Objective (Section 4.3.1.1) is disingenuous to say the least.

Oak Bay residents made their choices on the fundamental basis of that condition.

Any Oak Bay infill strategy or policy omitting this condition would ignore the only evidence-based feedback from the community regarding infill. I hope this does not happen.

Mike Wilmut

Oak Bay