A local group of knowledgable and concerned citizens are reaching out to council to help protect Oak Bay shorelines. The Shorelines Development Permit Area (SDPA) was established under the Official Community Plan in 2014; however, they feel that it has not been effectively implemented. The group is offering guidance to council on how to best implement through educating homeowners and developers of their responsibilities and having deterrents and consequences to ensure protection and enhancement of the shoreline. (Photo courtesy Anita Wolfe)

Concerned citizens push for more shoreline protection

Group seeking better implementation of Shorelines Development Permit Area

A local group of knowledgeable and concerned citizens are reaching out to council to help protect Oak Bay shorelines.

The Shorelines Development Permit Area (SDPA) was established under the Official Community Plan in 2014, to protect and preserve Oak Bay’s shorelines by restricting development within the 15 metre strip of land along the shore.

According to the group of residents, it has not been effectively implemented and new developments have not adhered to the guidelines. The group is offering guidance to council on how to best implement it through educating landowners and developers of their responsibilities, and having deterrents and consequences to ensure protection and enhancement of the shoreline.

“What we would like to see is Oak Bay implementing the SDPA properly.” says Lehna Malmkvist, a resident and biologist involved in shoreline work in the CRD. “So the first part is informing and educating landowners, and then moving forward, using what is called the Green Shores Program to make sure that new developments are informed well ahead of time and understand their responsibilities when they are developing these shoreline properties.”

The results of the Official Community Plan (OCP) survey show that the Oak Bay community places high value on the natural environment. A majority of respondents (60 percent) listed protect and manage shoreline as a priority. Residents recognize that environmental conservation, with public and private stewardship, is important to sustaining the natural beauty of this community.

It is not just about protecting the aesthetics, but also the stability of the shores. Erosion and damage from storm surges due to climate change can significantly affect property values and municipal infrastructure. Protecting the integrity of the shoreline can help mitigate disaster and save homeowners and the municipality money.

“The Green Shores is a relatively new standard that has been recognized all over British Columbia but is new to Oak Bay,” says Anita Wolfe, resident and Living Building Challenge Ambassador. “The nice thing is that it is not expensive to do, it looks beautiful, and it enhances the value. We can do this. It is actually cheaper. If we don’t do this, there are significant consequences. There is a financial cost, there is an environmental cost, and there is also a legal cost.”

The group is proposing a draft of an information package that would go to all waterfront property owners, all developers and real estate companies doing business in Oak Bay, and applicants of permits for waterfront properties. The package would explain the ecological importance of the shoreline, the effects of past developments, the Green Shores approach, and residents/developers responsibilities.

They also recommend that council and staff implement significant consequences for those that do damage to the SPDA as a result of permitted or not permitted work. The group says that the fines should make destruction of the protected area cost prohibitive instead of “the cost of doing business.”

David Anderson, former MP for Oak Bay, former federal Minister of Environment and of Fisheries and Oceans, and a member of the concerned group of residents says, “as a frequent kayaker along Oak Bay shores I have seen first hand the appropriation by waterfront properties of the public’s foreshore. Inappropriate retaining walls, rocks dumped on beaches, and vegetation removed from the foreshore strip are now, sadly, common features. It is high time for Oak Bay to put an end to this alienation – theft – of public property.”

“The shoreline infrastructure in Oak Bay, and in Greater Victoria in general, was designed in another era. It is not at all ready for the future with rising sea levels. Now is the time to start planning on building something smarter,” says Jacques Sirious, chair of the Friends of Victoria Harbour Bird Sanctuary.

At the Nov. 27 meeting, council indicated support for the inclusion of a presentation on foreshore protection tools and Green Shores development guidelines at the 2018 AVICC Conference.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A local group of knowledgable and concerned citizens are reaching out to council to help protect Oak Bay shorelines. The Shorelines Development Permit Area (SDPA) was established under the Official Community Plan in 2014; however, the group feels it has not been effectively implemented. The group is offering guidance to council on how to best implement through educating homeowners and developers of their responsibilities and having deterrents and consequences to ensure protection and enhancement of the shoreline. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

Pandemic reunites 2000s era Victoria rock band The Origin

Saanich musicians recording for first time since 2008

Local authors nominated for Victoria Book Prize awards

Finalists for 2020 announced in two categories

Patrick brothers who shaped modern hockey also tried, but failed, to remove violence

New history thesis shows efforts to sell a “clean game” in Oak Bay

Central Saanich to formally inform Agricultural Land Commission about soccer pitch proposal

Move is meant for information only with no application having come forward yet

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Most Read