OAK BAY letter: OCP lacks beaches

Re: OCP tweaks in the works This doesn’t cover the large amount of community input ignored

Re: OCP tweaks in the works (News, June 18). This doesn’t cover the large amount of community input ignored by the OCP committee during the public involvement charade.

The OCP process began with a survey, which was biased towards multiple housing and neglected other topics. Any survey is only competent in direct proportion to the questions asked.

I chose to limit my comments to something I consider important – the health and safety of young children playing on Oak Bay beaches. It is a goal in the current OCP – “to provide clean and safe beaches for public use.” I was very concerned to find that this goal had been excluded, so I wrote to the OCP committee. The reply I received did not address my concern or offer to reconsider the eliminated goal.

It is hypocritical to put in the draft OCP phrases like “community health and well-being” or “public health and safety” without any described methods of achieving this. We need clean and safe beaches and it should be a priority goal. Children play there, close to the sand and barefoot, and it is definitely a public health issue. Garbage, glass, cigarette butts, etc., should be cleared from the beaches in the summer months before the public arrives.

Perhaps a possible reason behind the deletion of this OCP goal may have been a report to council by the Windsor Park Dog Group, which targeted parks and beaches in Oak Bay for year-round dog walking? Certainly council was in violation of the current OCP when it designated McNeill Bay beach for year-round dog use in 2012. Read the WPDG report on the municipal website and form your own opinion.

Safety is also an issue on this same beach. Large boulders placed at the east end several years ago have now mostly collapsed. As well as reconstruction, a tide and current movement study is needed to prevent further erosion of sand along the bay.

No municipality’s OCP should be a victim of personal agendas or manipulation. It should stand as a statement of intent for all citizens.

Helen Slade

Oak Bay