Protest groups frequently go unheard in Oak Bay

I wish more luck to the members of the new Oak Bay Watch

The article by  Christine van Reeuwyk: Residents group seeking input on planning issues, March 15, drew my attention to the formation of Oak Bay Watch. This is a citizens group interested in the correct implementation of the official Oak Bay community plan.

I wish them success since the record of protest groups influencing council decisions has been a spotty one so far.

I have followed events in Oak Bay for over 20 years, even during the time I lived in Sooke. Headlines in the Times Colonist drew my attention to the extended protests against the proposal to put a pub actually on Oak Bay Avenue. I was shocked, I tell you, shocked.

Since then the deterioration of the avenue has gained momentum. The idea of building a retirement home, Carlton House, was inexplicably permitted by a weak-kneed council with no thought to the consequences.

Now we have the evening procession of  stupefied seniors doing donuts on their scooters or pushing their walkers in various directions in their attempts to find their way back from the Penny Farthing Pub to Carlton House.

This past February confused seniors were endangered by the possibility of stumbling accidentally into the clover traps set to catch deer. The traps were set despite extended and vociferous protests to save our deer. I think there are more deer than seniors now judging by the flowers missing from the tulips in planters on the avenue.

The more grizzled seniors were in danger of getting entangled in the nets and accidentally dispatched  with a bolt gun, so desperate was council to up the count.

The latest atrocity is the rebuild of the Clive apartment building. When completed this monstrosity, this four-storey skyscraper on the tallest hill on the avenue will dominate the view along the whole length, or at least from Monterey, if you squint.

As you can see the history of citizens input concerning development in Oak Bay has a poor record of actually influencing council.

I wish more luck to the members of the new Oak Bay Watch. They can take heart in one outstanding public protest success. That is in the elimination of nursing care in Oak Bay once the replacement for Oak Bay Lodge is completed in Saanich.

So when, or if, my health deteriorates and I require nursing home care I can look forward to living in beautiful Quadra Street Village. Thank you protesters.

Joe Harvey

Oak Bay


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