I write to reinforce the sentiment of other letter writers.
Spewhung (Turkey Head) is an incredibly valuable asset for the community of Oak Bay and, perhaps, the single most important ‘hinge’ on which hangs our best possible hope for a new relationship with the Lekwungen people who are indigenous to this land.
Because the place is so important to all of us, and because 30 years is a long time to ‘freeze’ an invaluable opportunity, whatever is negotiated must reflect a generous spirit of reconciliation with the Lekwungen people.
That spirit of reconciliation cannot represent only what seven councillors and some district staff have in mind. The citizens of Oak Bay need to be involved. We need to be involved in imagining the future of the place, not merely in responding to someone else’s imaginings.
Citizen engagement is not, “Here’s what we have in mind: tell us what you think.” Citizen engagement is, “We have this wonderful place and opportunity. The decisions we make will endure for 30 years and beyond. Help us imagine and realize how to make the best of what could be.”
What passes for citizen engagement in Oak Bay is far less than is standard in many communities, and far less than we should accept.