Proposed Main Floor OB Lodge

Hampshire Hill Neighbourhood Association eNews June 7, 2012
hampshirehillna@gmail.com

OBL Meeting Report:

Two community consultations, characterized as Round-Table Discussions, have been conducted over the past two days by representatives of Focus Corporation. Within the limited scope of their mandate they appear to have been successful. Oak Bay residents and representatives of a variety of community associations turned out to express their concerns and/or support for the redevelopment of the Oak Bay Lodge site. There was a good turnout for these events, with 60 to 70 people asking insightful questions and offering a wide range of opinions.

What was clear, at the end of the process, is that there are far more questions than answers.

In truth, this was not a consultation process, as the proponents (VIHA and Baptist Housing) were not present to engage in conversation with the community. What took place might be described as Round Table Responses or Proposal Feedback Sessions. It was clear that the proposal, and the required variances, were placed before the meetings as a take-it-or-leave-it decision. Participants raised many concerns and asked a wide range of questions, few of which could be answered by the young facilitators. As one participant put it, “Every questions seems to give rise to more questions, but no one has answers for us.”

The facilitators indicated that all points raised would form part of their report to Council, however, there was considerable concern that the Round-Table input might not get to Councilors before its meeting on the 19th. This is the date set for a special Council meeting to be held at the Monterey Rec Centre at 7:00 pm. The final decision on the variance application will be made on June 27th. Councilors Ney, Kirby and Murdoch attended the Wednesday meeting and heard participants’ concerns. It was clear that people wanted answers to their many questions, prior to the meeting on the 19th, so that this new information would form part of the discussion with Council.

While the DVP (Development Permit Application) process is fairly narrow in scope, all participants felt that a broader discussion was needed, in light of the extreme nature of the variances being requested. The young Focus Corp. representatives, Jason Niles and Richard Giele, have indicated that they will get answers and information to us as quickly as possible. We will pass it along to you when it is received.

We hope that you will mark June 19th on your calendar and be at the Monterey Centre to participate in this important meeting.

Upcoming events:

Balloon Test:
Saturday and Sunday, June 9/10. Large, helium filled balloons will be tethered to the existing building to illustrate the proposed new buildings height. The HHNA has asked that the display last more than two days as many people will not be aware of what the balloons signify, or may not make arrangements to view to presentation on Saturday and Sunday. Please let your friends and neighbours know about this important event.

Special Council Meeting for Public Input:
Tuesday, June 19th, starting at 7:00 pm at the MONTEREY Recreation Centre.

Special Council Meeting:
Council consideration of proposed issuance of development variance permit. Wednesday, June 27th, starting at 7:30 pm at the Oak Bay Municipal Hall Council Chambers.

Written by Michael Hayes