Mayor Jensen began his 2014 Annual Address by acknowledging that the meeting is being held within the traditional territories of the Coast Salish First Nations people. He thanked First Nations Chief Ron Sam for attending at the Municipal Hall and helping to unveil the Lekwungen Plaques commemorating our First Nations history and for attending meetings that continue to build bridges between our two proud and historic communities and with discussion on Oak Bay’s Official Community Plan and the deer issues.
The Mayor reflected on the year 2013 commenting that it proved to be both exciting and challenging. He said there were three CAO’s in 2013 and thanked Council members for their time and effort during the selection process for the new CAO. He said that Council is looking forward to a long and successful working relationship with Ms. Koning at the Helm of the Realm.
Other changes highlighted were the election of the First Green Candidate to the BC Legislature representing Oak Bay, MLA Andrews Weaver, and MP Murray Rankin who replaced the retiring Denise Savoie.
The Mayor said that the Official Community Plan Renewal project gained momentum with open houses being held and completion of a survey, the results being presented to Council later in the meeting. The Mayor thanked the committee volunteers, staff and Councillors Copley, Green and Herbert for their work on the committee.
With respect to the Heritage Commission, the Mayor noted that a Heritage Strategic Plan has been adopted by Council and will form a foundation for future heritage decisions and planning. He extended a special thanks to Pat Wilson, Chair and Heritage Commission members for their work on the project.
In the spring of 2013, the Mayor said the much-anticipated sod turning ceremony heralded the beginning of construction for the new Oak Bay High School. He commented that once completed it will truly become a centerpiece of the community, with a neighbourhood learning centre and a theatre that will be a state of the art facility, which will add to the already active Oak Bay arts community. The Mayor thanked Councillors Kirby and Ney for their collaborative work with the School District.
The Mayor said the absence of Councillor Ney was due to an injury received while participating in a rugby demonstration on the lawn of the Legislature with the National Rugby team while representing Council as Acting Mayor. He wished her continued success on her recovery.
Councillor Murdoch, the Mayor reported, has taken on the task of tackling the complex and thorny issue of floor area ratio. He thanked Councillor Murdoch for his work in 2013 and wished him continued success for 2014.
The upcoming year of 2014, the Mayor said, promises to be equally exciting and challenging with plans to complete the Official Community Plan by early fall. He said Open Houses will be held in the first months of the year that will build on the work done in 2013.
The Mayor said the launch of the community wide Kitchen Scrap pickup program will begin in January and will result in a significant reduction in material being land filled at Hartland, extending the life of that facility.
In 2014, the Mayor said, staff and Council will continue to explore ways to implement Council’s 2012 transportation policy which envisions a walkable and bikable community with active transportation networks. He said the Upland Sewer Separation project will begin the planning and costing phases in 2014.
The Mayor noted that the Oak Bay Lodge will present an exciting and challenging opportunity for the community to re-vision the future of the lodge property and Council is looking forward to working with the Regional District to examine the possibilities.
With respect to the Urban Deer issue, the Mayor said it has been a very difficult and emotional subject for the Council and the community. He said that in 2014 the program will begin and District of Oak Bay
initiatives include public education, regulatory review to the feeding bylaw, road safety measures with deer reduction strategies to be conducted later in the year.
The Mayor stated that one of his first acts of the 2014 Council year will be to appoint the first Arts Laureate.
He remarked that Oak Bay is an extraordinary place to live and do business and that it is fast becoming a destination for great art and food, where people can relax and enjoy the village atmosphere. He said that people of all ages feel comfortable biking and walking and there are housing options for a wide range of residents. He continued by saying Oak Bay is a place where we can all live Oak Bay’s Motto Sub Quercu Felicitas – under the Oak, Good fortune.
The Mayor offered his thanks to members of staff for their support in 2013 and concluded his remarks by extending the best wishes of Oak Bay Council to all for a happy holiday season.
December 16, 2013 Council Minutes