Mayor Kevin Murdoch was elected in 2018 after one term as a councillor. (Black Press Media File Photo)

COLUMN: A year in review and the year ahead, for Oak Bay council

A seasonal message from Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch

It’s been a big first year as new mayor and council.

With priorities set early in 2019 through an open Strategic Planning process, council has been tackling significant issues such as housing, infrastructure planning, and service excellence within a framework of economic, environmental and social sustainability.

We’re also supporting staff to ensure they can provide a timely response to daily “little things” like potholes, building maintenance, sidewalks, graffiti removal and more. This effort to fix pipes and roads meant a significant tax increase in 2019, an investment that will reduce long-term costs.

Other initiatives in 2019 included the hosting of community meetings, agendas published further in advance of meetings, and a more timely and responsive online presence. And 2020 will continue improvements in public engagement, robust reporting, longer-range financial planning, improved processes for committees and commissions, and new procedures, policies, and bylaws.

READ MORE: Study shows Oak Bay’s dwindling population is rapidly aging

With provincial financial support, 2019 saw the first application of immuno-contraception to our resident deer; this will continue in 2020 with measurement of the program’s effectiveness. The new year will also see a new Tree Protection Bylaw and other associated initiatives to protect our natural assets, with the newly established Community Climate Action Working Group informing climate change priorities.

It was a significant year for heritage including completion of the cenotaph restoration, and 2020 will bring forward Oak Bay’s first Heritage Conservation Area. We’ll also likely see restoration work begin on Tod House.

A key 2019 council priority has been planning for housing. Two key reports nearing completion will provide much-needed data: a housing needs report and secondary suites study. The District will use this and other data to develop a Housing Framework for planning. Creating the Housing Framework will see a significant request for community input in 2020 to help guide recommendations.

Oak Bay Parks, Recreation, and Culture continues to provide outstanding recreation services, programming, events, and facilities for ages two to 102. Public art is growing, events such as music and yoga in the park promote community health and connection, and our parks provide natural and sporting spaces for mental and physical benefit.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria mayors behind bars

Within municipal hall, 2019 saw the hiring of a permanent CAO, a Director of Corporate Services, a Director of Strategic Initiatives and a Director of Finance. In partnership with council, the leadership team is working hard developing enhancements to our community and setting high standards for operations.

The new year will begin by considering the Oak Bay Lodge lands’ future, the Oak Bay Marina/Turkey Head lease renewal, and continued work on files like regional housing, transportation, sewage, climate change, environment, and much more.

On behalf of council and myself, I would like to sincerely thank our staff, those individuals who sit on our boards, members of our committees and commissions, our community groups and the citizens of Oak Bay who contribute their time and energy to the betterment of our community. It has been a busy and productive year and I look forward to the next 12 months and beyond.

– Seasons greetings from Mayor Kevin Murdoch and Oak Bay council


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

Just Posted

Langford ranks as fastest growing community in B.C.

Westshore community grew by 5.2 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018

Highlands councillor designs ‘carbon budget’ for CRD municipalities

Budget shows how much carbon left for each municipality to use to meet climate goals

City of Victoria drafts revision of plastic bag ban bylaw

The bylaw will need to go to the province for approval

Traffic delays: Saturday work added to Highway 1 construction schedule

Work continues on dangerous stretch between Leigh Road and West Shore Parkway

VIDEO: James Bay wolf released into wild of western Vancouver Island

Conservation officers confirm wolf is from Discovery Island

VIDEO: Driver guilty in Saanich crash that left 11-year-old with catastrophic brain injuries

North Saanich woman convicted on one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

Most Read