At the Dec. 15 Oak Bay council meeting, three residents spoke during the public participation portion of the meeting – all on the topic of the recent carbon monoxide leak in a private home attributed to blasting next door.
Several things were particularly striking about their remarks.
Firstly, this family was left to deal with this frightening situation on their own. It seems that little help, support, empathy or expert guidance was available to them. Why not?
Secondly, with increasing numbers of demolitions and new build activity across this community, this scenario may be replicated time and time again. Shouldn’t we as a community of caring residents expect inclusion of an environmental assessment of the impact on the surrounding homes before older homes are torn down or blasting begins?
Thirdly, new construction plans tend to include removal of trees; not all of which are protected. In this case it was a mature fir tree; home to several species of birds that was cut down. How is it that a mature 75-foot-tall tree can be referred to as a shrub or an overgrown hedge and removed so easily?
We have older homes in Oak Bay. Many have passed their “best before date” and new owners want to tear them down and build new rather than update them and make them safe and livable again.
We need new rules to guide us before we lose too many older homes and too many mature trees. Vancouver experienced this and is trying to reverse the trend – possibly too little, too late. Let’s be proactive.