Oak Bay’s eagles are in the spotlight again, as unauthorized construction on a municipal path left neighbours concerned for the birds’ safety.
A stop-work order was issued on Friday, June 14, when a private contractor decided to rip out bushes on a municipal path near the Oak Bay fire hall. Neighbours, concerned about the eagle’s nest in the area, alerted police, and a bylaw officer was sent to assess the damage.
The city says it is not yet clear who is responsible for the brush removal, though some clearing was occurring at a private residence in the area and bylaw officers scheduled meetings after the News deadline this week with individuals who may be involved.
“Typically, we don’t have a lot of activity in the back lanes from the municipal side, and certainly not from the private side,” says Dave Marshall, director of engineering with the district of Oak Bay. “No one is entitled to go out in public land and do work, in any form.”
Marshall says it has not yet been confirmed whether the eagles were disturbed in the process, and he is unsure what action will be taken with the individuals involved.
Occasionally, some developed lanes are used by residents who set out compost bins or trim the grass. However, it is illegal to perform any unauthorized work on public land, and no permits had been issued for clearing that portion of the path, which stretches between 2290 and 2280 Woodlawn Cres.
The issue comes at a contentious time, says Ian Roberts, project manager of the development at 2278 Woodlawn Cres., which started work on June 12.
That development has faced a long approval process due to its proximity to the eagle’s nest, but lot owners brought in consulting biologists from the province to ensure construction would not disturb the nest. Roberts says the overgrowth had already been removed by the time his contractors arrived.
“We’ve really gone through all the hoops and we are sensitive to the neighbours’ concerns, so we’re trying to be the good guys here, and doing everything we can to make sure this happens the right way,” says Roberts.
Eagle nesting season continues through September.