No justification for Oak Bay tax hike

Let’s not hold on to champagne tastes with a beer pocket budget

My head is still spinning since Mayor Jensen’s comments for a whooping 5.1 per cent property tax increase were first reported on the front page of the Oak Bay News.

My neighbours and I are still trying to determine whether the mayor was just practising his political-speak oratory skills, or was he testing the observation and comprehensive skills of Oak Bay residents?

However, if Mayor Jensen’s intention was to pitch and sell Oak Bay homeowners on his proposed 5.1 per cent property tax increase, he must do a far better job to justify it.

What does his “advancing alternative transportation” actually mean? Does the mayor know of another way to get people in and out of Oak Bay with our present single lane road system?  Has he found a new solution to dramatically increase the very small percentage of cyclists that currently commute?

While studies have noted initiatives to accomplish this end, none have yet gotten people out of their cars. Might there be something up the mayor’s sleeve that he has not yet revealed?

The mayor says the strategic plan “inspires land use innovations.” Here we go again. What is well known is how allowing the various types of multi-dwellings on single-family lots has, in fact, negatively affected residents in other less desirable communities, and which were not at all innovative.

Since Oak Bay’s 2007 bylaw changes, what we have seen is a startling number of character homes destroyed and replaced with monster houses built on small lots, a monster apartment block and a monster duplex. These egregious monster-development eyesores may well fill the financial coffers of developers but they are now actively being protested by homeowners in Oak Bay and many B.C. communities.

The mayor’s plan to “introduce new strategic initiatives” means what? Mayor, please forthrightly provide transparency and substantive subject matter on these issues. Let’s not hold on to champagne tastes with a beer pocket budget.  Please do not cost us another giant leap in our ever-increasing property taxes.

Phyllis Campanello

Oak Bay