Who watches the watchers?

I resent attention being given to grandstanding, cynical voices

“Oh, the jobs people work at! Out west near Hawtch-Hawtch there’s a Hawtch-Hawtcher bee watcher, his job is to watch. Is to keep both his eyes on the lazy town bee, a bee that is watched will work harder you see. So he watched and he watched, but in spite of his watch that bee didn’t work any harder not mawtch. So then somebody said “Our old bee-watching man just isn’t bee watching as hard as he can, he ought to be watched by another Hawtch-Hawtcher! The thing that we need is a bee-watcher watcher!”

With thanks to Dr. Seuss.

I have problems with the self- appointed watchers in our Hawtch-Hawtch. First is the presumption by the Oak Bay Watch that their recording of council sessions benefits the majority of residents. In my case this is incorrect and unwanted, and I know that many are with me on this.

If our council chooses to broadcast, it will do so as a benefit to those who can’t or don’t attend public sessions, and by employing objective technicians (as is being done in Victoria).

The second problem is the efforts of a parochial group to insinuate themselves into a process they know even less about than architecture: urban planning. The implementation of the Official Community Plan occurs through processes and bylaws administered by elected council with qualified advisors and formal public consultation – not the accusatory and combative Oak Bay Watch.

Third is that while it may be desirable for more people to be engaged in community governance, it is the press that are our watchers. They can elevate and expand public constructive discourse on behalf of the often silent majority. I resent attention given to grandstanding, cynical voices whose premise seems to be that council is duplicitous or incompetent.

To the real challenges faced by planners, architects and politicians, the Watch offers naysaying and imposition of stagnant views of what’s best for everyone. This is not what Oak Bay needs.

Franc D’Ambrosio


Oak Bay