The entrance to Municipal Hall (photo) is the only thing more disheartening than July 9th’s Council meeting. The agenda was loaded with topics that have drawn support and criticism from residents at previous meetings, and in the media. Presentation of the Annual report, which drew indignation from the few who were able attend, resulted with 3 members of Council voting not to receive the report.
Included in the lengthy agenda (16 items):
- 2017 Annual Report
- Urban Systems report on Development Cost Charges (DCC’s) and Community Amenity Contributions (CAC’s)
- Secondary Suites Terms of Reference (TOR)
- Elected Officials compensation review
Agendas are not available until late Friday before a Monday meeting. So residents had the first weekend in July to review documents, and submit comments by 3:00 pm on Monday. A weekend is not a lot of time to read reports, formulate questions and prepare submissions. And July almost guarantees low turnout for the meeting.
Oak Bay’s website stated that residents were invited to provide input in writing or in person at the meeting. I did both. But District Staff were vague when asked when or who would respond to questions. Not surprising – the 2017 Annual Report also missed the target on accountability.
My comments to the Mayor at the start of the meeting:
‘The Mayor, as the Chief Executive Officer, is responsible to work with District staff on preparing Agendas and to conduct productive meetings. Arguably meetings might be considered more productive if the public are excluded from the process. However, many residents have expressed concern that they don’t feel Council is being transparent or listening to the community. In today’s society “transparency” and the “right to know” are paramount values’ (International Association Public Participation).
Other members of the CRD use award winning standards for measuring performance. If elected to Council, I will work hard to ensure that we achieve the same for Oak Bay.
Copies of the 2017 Annual Report and correspondence are available on the website.