Oak Bay council prepares for busy 2014

Mayor Nils Jensen takes a look at the year ahead

2013 was a year of exciting new projects and initiatives and a few firsts.

We appointed our first female Chief Administrative Officer Helen Koning and our first Arts Laureate Barbara Adams.

We launched the Oak Bay Official Community Plan review, a new heritage strategy and the high school redevelopment that will house a community learning centre and theatre.

2014 promises to be equally busy and exciting.

We start on New Year’s Day with free family activities at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre.

Join us to celebrate 2014.  Jazzercise starts 11 a.m., there’s a mayor’s walk at 12:30 p.m.., coffee at 1:30 p.m. and lots more free things to do.  For all the details go the events calendar at oakbay.ca.

In January we start our community-wide kitchen scraps collection program that will result in a significant reduction in materials being land filled at Hartland.

The Uplands sewer separation project will begin in 2014.  Slowly at first – with the planning and costing phases starting and then picking up pace as we enter 2015.

The Official Community Plan review will continue with open houses and public consultations. We are hoping to complete the plan by early fall.

In the New Year we expect the Capital Regional District to work with our community to create a new vision for the Oak Bay Lodge site. The CRD will begin a public consultation process that will be a unique opportunity for the CRD and Oak Bay to work collaboratively toward a shared goal. Drawing on our very positive experience working with the school district to build the community learning centre and theatre we look forward to working with the CRD to examine a wide range of possibilities for the lodge property.

The issue of urban deer has been a difficult and emotional issue for council and the community.

In 2014 the CRD Deer Management pilot project council recently approved will begin. Initiatives will focus on public safety and reducing deer/car collisions.  These initiatives include public education, regulatory review, road safety measures and later in the year deer reduction strategies.

With the recently announced departure of Police Chief Constable Mark Fisher to head up the Nanaimo RCMP a province-wide search for a replacement will begin in January.

2014 promises to be another year of progress in Oak Bay.

On behalf of myself and council I wish you all a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.

– Mayor Nils Jensen