Re: Be wary of ‘political’ survey questions, Your View, Oak Bay News Oct. 21
I would like to congratulate the writer on his knowledgeable, well-written article. However while I agree with almost all of the content, “laudable” is not the right word to describe council’s resident satisfaction survey effort.
Council should not spend tax dollars to find out what is already known. Satisfaction is why most of us live here and why developers want to build us out. An expensive survey has already determined resident priorities: replacing and repairing infrastructure and keeping taxes in check.
What really requires resolving is, are residents satisfied with being all but shut out of the discussion on future development? Are they ever going to get a say on whether they want to allow Oak Bay lots to continue to be over-built and over-paved? Do they want a lot of infill businesses to be built next to them that are causing problems elsewhere and are mainly untaxed?
There are developments that may be acceptable but so far they have received little attention; perhaps this because they are less profitable.
Council has been developing a Residential Infill Strategy for some time now, as its main implementation objective. Open house meetings were recently held at the University of Victoria and publicized as, “starting the infill conversation.” At the meetings the Official Community Plan resident survey results were presented that were obtained in one of the misleading ways the article explains. In this case by first assuring residents there would be no impact on them, then asking would they then agree with a whole range of densification housing choices in single-family neighbourhoods.
This commitment however was left out of the UVic presentation. Only the pro-development statistics were presented, as proof of what the majority of the community wants. This omission was convincingly pointed out and it was clear at both packed meetings that infill development was certainly a far cry from what almost all of the residents attending wanted.
It is also disturbing that in the OCP committee meetings it was stated time and time again that the resident survey results would be only a very small part of the resident input process, however this data now is being presented as the main focus, minus the no-impact commitment.