Residents need an active interest in community

In a democratic society, people have the right to openly agree or disagree with each other and with council

I am writing in response to the letters in the March 25 Oak Bay News that were very critical of community activism. Activism has nothing to do with the right of our elected officials to make decisions as they see fit. Instead, activism reflects how much more mature and engaged we have become as a community.

In a democratic society, people have the right to openly agree or disagree with each other and with council. We do so by electing candidates whose ideals we share.

Since we are not all the same, we also elect people with different points of view, interests and commitment with their constituency. That is, of course, the reason why councillors are also entitled to agree or disagree among themselves.

This recently occurred, for example, when the community provided their many concerns about the process that was to be used to implement the new Official Community Plan. This implementation can substantially impact our land use and zoning. Community input and activism is called democracy. Nothing new about it.

On the other hand, it is up to us community members to hold our elected officials accountable at all times. This is what “checks and balances” are all about. These checks and balances allow council to make sure that things are on track and ethical decisions are being made. Transparency is of the utmost importance.

Oak Bay Watch and other community groups are formed by people who believe that each and every one of us has an important role to play in shaping our future. They show up, share information, advocate for transparency and, above all, make concrete contributions to council in a proactive and respectful way.

OBW makes sure that our Official Community Plan is implemented legally, protects our residents and is unbiased. This is a good example of what Oak Bay Watch stands for. The bottom line is: getting off the couch to make their opinions heard is what responsible citizens are supposed to do. Yes it’s much easier to just lay down and watch a hockey game; however, the development industry devotes a lot of resources and expense (activism) to lobbying councils for their development goals.

Therefore, council needs to hear from existing residents who have to bare a lot of the taxation, infrastructure and additional service costs – as well as all the other impacts. Council needs our input to balance their ability to make informed decisions that protect our interests – not just those of the development community. It is important to understand not to provide our perspectives would be incredibly unfair to our council and our community.

James Sultanum

Oak Bay


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich is calling for witnesses after its large metal gate was stolen overnight on Monday, Jan. 18. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Rural Saanich farm reports large metal gate stolen

Muddy Valley Farm gate stolen overnight by ‘at least two people’

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Dallas Road

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Members of the Victoria Police Department, some of whom are shown here observing a moment of silence for victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia, experience stress and potential trauma more than most other workers, says Chief Const. Del Manak. While the number of shifts lost at VicPD are soaring, he sees it as a sign people are taking their own health and wellness seriously. (Black Press Media file photo)
Skyrocketing number of lost shifts at Victoria police has a positive side, chief says

Chief Const. Del Manak says officers, staff being more proactive looking after their mental health

A Seed and Stone rendering for White Rock, B.C. (Seed and Stone rendering)
Songhees Nation to open two Victoria cannabis stores spring 2021

Seed and Stone stores will open on Gordon Street and in the Bay Centre

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Most Read