The Oak Bay marina lease renewal provides an opportunity to rename both the marina itself the Oak Bay Municipal Marina, and Turkey Head walkway and parking lot Spewhung Park.
Both changes would clarify that the marina is a public resource owned by the municipality operated by a lessee. Consequently, expecting access to the water, leadership in environmental conservation, and adequate washrooms is a public right, not a concession from the marina operator. Similarly, renaming the parking lot as a real park, in addition to providing a gesture of reconciliation, would encourage citizens to view the area as a public resource, not simply a parking lot adjacent to a commercial enterprise.
Renaming both entities would reinforce the need for council to establish an advisory committee of experts to provide guidance on a management plan which integrates recreational uses, environmental aspects, and commercial opportunities. Such a committee could be instrumental in viewing the entire bay from Cattle Point to Turkey Head as a single entity, something long overdue.
Any lease renewal should anticipate such a perspective. The current operation of the bay ignores the bird sanctuary designation, continues the degradation of the eel grass and marine environment, and fails to provide for sewage pump-out from boats. It fosters misuse of the right of anchorage leading predictably to damaged and sunken boats, and underutilizes the restaurant causing the municipality to forgo a reasonable return on its facilities.
Having chosen to request proposals without adequate public input, council must now adjust to ensure the community’s interests are addressed after the fact. Failure to do so should result in other name changes: the names of the mayor and six councillors.