Mayor Kevin Murdoch and Couns. Braithwaite, Zhelka and Paterson moved Oak Bay further away from providing secondary housing options. Despite the carefully researched 100-page staff report indicating plenty of empty street parking in Oak Bay and despite the provincial Clean BC plan prioritizing active transportation and transit, the mayor broke the tie, requiring homeowners to either apply for special dispensation or build boarders or tenants a garage. Despite a recommendation from staff to the contrary, these same councilors also voted to prevent homeowners with a tenant from also housing a boarding student. Anyone who thinks Oak Bay has finally begun to offer diverse housing is misinformed.
The pleas of the 80 per cent of students at UVic and Camosun College who use transit or bike went unheard, as did the voices of working people and older residents who would prefer less isolation represented by Greater Victoria Acting Together. A reminder given by the Oak Bay Climate Force that Oak Bay has declared a climate emergency fell on deaf ears. The multiple vacant storefronts caused by our declining and aging population went unnoticed. The looming infrastructure deficit was ignored. These four decision-makers continue to starve our municipality of the new life it needs to keep stores open, our streets paved and the community vibrant.
Oak Bay has been deservedly singled out by Housing Minister David Eby for failing to pull its weight in the regional housing crisis. Hopefully, the province will continue to provide the clear-sighted leadership we so badly need and listen to Couns. Ney, Appleton and Green. The rest of Oak Bay council is obviously not up to the challenge.