Letters to the editor March 2

Oak Bay council ducking the tough questions

Re: Council extends olive branch (News, Feb. 18)It was interesting to read the article by Vivian Moreau but I do not think council was extending an olive branch as much as trying to cover up their embarrassment at being caught approving the signing of a blank cheque.The fact that Mr. Brennan recommended council’s acceptance of a plan based on a sole-source proposal without any pricing (firm fixed or otherwise) was irresponsible. Council’s decision to move forward based on that recommendation was worse than irresponsible.These observations are based on experience with procurement practices in government and industry. Indeed, anyone making such a flawed recommendation would likely be looking for a new job – and a management decision to accept and proceed with it would have incurred some senior career changes.Hiring the company that literally wrote the B.C. Guidelines for Secondary Suite approval and has subsequently assisted various B.C. communities to do so, would clearly fall short of assuring open public discussion. To have done this with nothing more than an erroneous cost estimate would have been the worst possible example of signing a blank cheque.If council truly wants to be credible, how about doing your homework before you spend our tax dollars on an ‘event’ that is suspect at best? Why do we need a party for the converted?Why not explain to the residents of Oak Bay exactly what your rationale is for legalizing secondary suites? How do you intend to implement/administer them? Where is your impact study and plan for regulation? I expect both the ‘for’ and ‘against’ sides would appreciate knowing what you hope to achieve.At the moment, I don’t think secondary suites are the issue. The real issue is that council is not prepared to answer important questions.Roberta McCarthy  Oak BayThink of the benefitsof suites for momentRecently, one or more readers wrote that since they paid a premium for their Oak Bay properties, they should be able to continue to enjoy the status quo.But surely many of your readers will have seen the obvious flaw in that argument. Speaking for myself, I came to Oak Bay for reasons that had nothing to do with secondary suites.One must consider above all the question of who are the victims of this discrimination against the legalization of suites. They include the owners of single-family homes who keep below the radar and cannot apply for a permit to improve their secondary suites, as well as the homeowners who cannot afford to continue in their homes unless assisted by rents.I also list a few groups of people who would likely be looking for affordable housing near their workplaces in Oak Bay. They would include health-care workers looking after our seniors; college students, like our own sons, daughters or grandchildren; those serving us in our shops and banks, and single parents who leave the single family home and must now pay for two homes and support the children left there.Just think.Thomas LaneOak BayPolice dept. as busyas Oak Bay needsWell, here we go again with negative reporting. Why can reporters not look for the positive, why does it seem that everything has a negative aspect to it?I would like to say thank goodness the Oak Bay police are not rushed off their feet. What a pleasure it is to live in a municipality were crime is low and the police have an opportunity to respond to all calls. There are not “stacked” emergency calls waiting for our officers, so when you do call them, they can and do respond in a timely manner.It only makes sense to allocate specialized duties to departments where they have the call volume and experience to deal with the incident.This is very similar to ambulance service, whereby not every ambulance on the road is staffed with advanced life support personnel.There is not the call volume to warrant this, as there isn’t for specialized police duties in Oak Bay – again I say thank goodness.If Greater Victoria was to operate with one police department, guess where our police cars would be detailed? We would be lucky to see one car in this area and most likely the area of responsibility for the one vehicle would be east of Richmond Road.I have lived in Oak Bay all my life and wish to say to the officers and members of the Oak Bay Police Department, “Well done.”Gerry AdamOak Bay(Editor’s note: Mr. Adam is not the Oak Bay fire chief)Oak Bay officerturns a good deedI woke up Feb. 19 in panic, realizing that for the past week I had been on the road illegally.A recent change of my address had redirected ICBC’s reminder for renewal. As a primarily law-abiding motorist I thought it would be most unwise to take any more chances.So, I humbly surrendered to the folks in blue. After explaining my predicament, I was not allowed to operate my car. But to my surprise, the officer took me to the nearest Autoplan office. He waited until I paid for my insurance, drove me back to my car and put the sticker on my plate.Perhaps it was the fact that I turned myself in, admitting to an oversight of serious consequences, or the handicap sticker on my car that resulted in such preferential treatment. Whatever, my sincere kudos go out to the Oak Bay Police Department. I do not know the officer’s name, but he knows who he is, and I thank you once again.William RauschningVictoria