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Council reacts to Bowker flood report

The watermain break on Bowker Avenue that left basements flooded and residents displaced is perhaps best summed up by Coun. Michelle Kirby as “an unfortunate experience, but a learning experience nonetheless.”

On Monday, councillors commented on chief administrative officer Mark Brennan’s report of the Nov. 20 incident, one Kirby found particularly stressful.

“These were my neighbours one street over and it was very difficult not having a clear plan as to who was to talk to these residents, and not really knowing what my role was, or whose role it was to talk to them,” Kirby said.

A key component of the learning experience will be having identified protocol around contact point people, she said.

Oak Bay council unanimously accepted Brennan’s report, which includes a summary of events and staff recommendations, but not without questioning from where the necessary funds will come to cover recommendations such as equipping public works field staff with portable data devices.

A staff planning group will meet on Jan. 30 to review the recommendations and begin drafting standard procedures.

“This report speaks to how we can do things better in the future,” said Mayor Nils Jensen. “We certainly regret the damage and the stress that resulted from the situation.”

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