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March 2017: Region mourns death of Saanich councillor Vic Derman

Sailing awards, sewage treatment and hall of famers announced
Oak Bay High student Sophie de Goede, 17, seenhere with mom Stephanie White, was named the Young Female Player of the Year during Rugby Canada’s 2016 Awards Dinner. The annual event recognizes individuals, clubs and teams that have positively impacted rugby in Canada and includes volunteer appreciation, annual awards and the latest Hall of Fame and Honorary Life Membership with mom Stephanie White (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News) Oak Bay High student Sophie de Goede, 17, seenhere with mom Stephanie White, was named the Young Female Player of the Year during Rugby Canada’s 2016 Awards Dinner. The annual event recognizes individuals, clubs and teams that have positively impacted rugby in Canada and includes volunteer appreciation, annual awards and the latest Hall of Fame and Honorary Life Membership with mom Stephanie White (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

The region mourned along with Saanich when former teacher, Vic Derman died on March 17 at the age of 72, halfway through his fourth term on Saanich council, leaving behind his wife and daughter. First elected in 2002 after four unsuccessful tries, Derman used his time on council to promote policies that encouraged urban sustainability and discouraged the use of fossil fuels, often counter to the prevailing Zeitgeist.

Rezoning changes allowed for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point that comes with $20 million in amenities for the community.

Some Esquimalt councillors, still weren’t impressed the $765-million project landed back in Esquimalt, but felt there’s nothing they could do to stop it. The Esquimalt public hearing was relatively quiet compared to March 2014 when more than 100 residents from across the region spoke against the project, citing concerns with the size and environmental impact.

This time, councillors noted the project is “substantially different” with tertiary treatment instead of secondary, a much smaller footprint, larger setbacks from the shoreline, odour and noise control, and an amenity package that better serves the needs of the community.

That package includes $7 million for waterfront parks, $5 million for community recreation buildings and spaces, and $5 million for emergency services and public safety facilities.

A CRD-owned, shared state-of-the-art post-disaster facility was announced to serve as the first point of contact for 9-1-1 and will house call-taking for all policing agencies in the region.

“CRD staff have been working hard with the South Island Police Dispatch Steering Committee to finalize facility planning for this new dispatch centre and we look forward to breaking ground in 2017,” said Barbara Desjardins, CRD board chair. “We are confident that this project will improve service to the public, increase officer safety and provide efficiencies for local governments, police and the RCMP.”

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris said consolidating dispatch services has many advantages, including improving co-ordination between police agencies so they can better respond to large emergencies that cross municipal boundaries. The province contributed $100,000 to support the consolidation of 9-1-1 services.

The initiative is led by the South Island Police Dispatch Steering Committee, composed of police chiefs from Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria, and representatives of the RCMP, the Province of British Columbia, Capital Regional District and E-Comm.

“Oak Bay hasn’t had its own in-house dispatch for coming on 13 years now, so we are already relying on a consolidated call centre,” Sgt. Rob Smith of Oak Bay Police said after the announcement. “Further co-ordination, through E-Comm services will only help to improve co-ordinated efforts between all south Island agencies.”

The 13,000-square-foot, two-storey building at 4219 Commerce Circle in Saanich will feature a communications centre in an open workspace concept. The 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week operation will also be equipped with redundancies for all mechanical and electrical.

Construction started this year with completion expected in 2019.

Monterey Recreation Centre switched to a board of directors. The Monterey Recreation Activities Association, formerly the Oak Bay Seniors Activities Association, raises funds for member bursaries, equipment and other extras at the Monterey Avenue centre. One significant change was the switch from an executive committee of 38 to a 12-member board of directors.

John McRoberts and Jackie Gay received the National Sailing Award of the Year for their outstanding achievements at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

McRoberts and Gay, who sail out of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, captured the silver medal in the two-person mixed keelboat fleet, turning the country of Canada into the second most successful Paralympic sailing nation in the world.

The pair were presented with Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master watches courtesy of Rolex Canada.

Oak Bay High’s 27-member track team’s two-year plan to head for Florida was a go after a review by the Greater Victoria School District. The team headed for Disney World to train five days and attend a track meet at the Wide World of Sports. Travel restrictions in the U.S. triggered a review of all planned Greater Victoria School District student travel there.

The review came in the wake of travel restrictions brought into place by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We believe it is prudent at this point to postpone future travel plans until we have a clear understanding of what’s going on,” said superintendent Piet Langstraat, adding here have been a number of issues involving people of Muslim faith being held up at the border, regardless of their countries of origin or whether they hold passports.

The superintendent consulted parents and students to make determinations on immediate trips on a case-by-case basis.

Future trips early in the planning process, where funds were not yet committed, were be encouraged to find alternate destinations in Canada and other countries where all students can travel without risk of denied entry based on faith or ethnicity.

Rugby Canada’s inaugural seven inductees into the 2017 Hall of Fame class included Al Charron, Gareth Rees, Rod Snow, Robert ‘Ro’ Hindson and Gillian Florence inducted into the player’s wing while Robert Spray and Mike Luke were the first inductees into the builder’s category.

Rees and Hindson both played with the Castaway Wanderers of Oak Bay.

Rees attended Oxford University and played professionally for Wasps, Newport, Merignac and Harlequins where he won various cup and league competitions as well as scoring titles. He also represented the famed Barbarians four times. In Canada, Rees suited up for the University of Victoria and Castaway Wanderers and represented his province on many occasions.

In addition to the World Rugby Hall of Fame induction, Rees has been inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, BC Rugby Hall of Fame, BC Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Hindson played for the Penticton Harlequins RFC, Castaway Wanderers, Oak Bay Wanderers, UBC Old Boy Ravens as well as the University of Victoria, Vancouver Island, University of British Columbia and provincially for B.C. He was also the only Canadian to play for the South Pacific Barbarians against the South African Barbarians in their 1987 tour. He also lined up for the World Team against Ireland as part of their centenary celebrations in 1973.

The Oak Bay High The senior boys team finished fourth in the province. First team all-stars in the 4A BC competition included Isaiah Romanow, Caelen Scott and Diego Maffia. Jaden Touchie was named MVP.

Oak Bay approved its part of the energy centre build at the University of Victoria.

Council allowed an exemption from its parking requirements for construction of an Energy Centre on campus, allowing the university to meet its building deadline for $4.8 million in provincial funding. The university is required to have an approved building permit in place prior to March 31 to secure that funding.

The proposed building is sited in the southwest quadrant of campus, within Oak Bay boundaries, and the proposed building would remove existing parking stalls. Oak Bay’s parking facilities bylaw requires one parking stall per two students, difficult to calculate given a portion of the campus is also within Saanich.

The existing campus heating system comprises a loop of underground piping providing heat to 32 buildings via hot water and heat exchangers. Water is heated by natural gas fired boilers located in three facilities built in 1994, 1978 and 1968 and each requires significant repair or replacement. The proposed District Energy Centre is in Parking Lot 6 to minimize impacts on existing trees and green space. The new energy centre would achieve a 10 to 12 per cent annual energy savings over existing systems.

Longtime Oak Bay resident and famed artist Patricia Martin Bates was awarded the inaugural Acorn Arts Award in a ceremony.

The Acorn Arts Award recognizes a living artist, group or institution which has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Oak Bay. The award is administered by Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture, as adjudicated by the Oak Bay Arts Laureate and the Public Art Committee.

Bates’ active community service is also wide, including the Zonta group which promotes the advancement of young women, and the University Women’s Club. She is the founder of Victoria Visual Arts Legacy Society.

Oak Bay Kiwanis expected to see a donation sprout into a 2,000-square-foot greenhouse by fall. Then president Kristina Ewing offered her President’s Project donation of $5,000 to Woodwynn Farms in Central Saanich.

Oak Bay earned provincial bucks to count deer.

“The first thing we need to do is capture 20 deer – bucks and does – and fit them with the GPS recording equipment,” said Steve Huxter, of the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society. They ordered the collars as soon as funding through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations funding came through March 16. Oak Bay will get $20,000 urban deer cost-share program, funding projects that focus on deer culls and research into other population control methods.

In December 2016, Oak Bay and UWSS learned Invermere, Grand Forks, Elkford and Cranbrook were approved for funding, while the ministry worked with Oak Bay to refine its proposal.

Abstract Developments’ Bowker proposal came to council for potential first and second readings that trigger a public hearing. While letters to council weighed heavily in favour of the proposal, the room of residents remained split.

A Pokémon Go stops and a pokégym were removed from areas of Uplands Park.

Botanist Wylie Thomas happily reported the plentiful digital creatures will diminish in Cattle Point after battling since December 2016 with Nintendo.

Pokémon Go is a popular, GPS-enabled game that people play on smart phones that was negatively impacting the conservation efforts of Thomas, myriad volunteers throughout Oak Bay, and the municipality itself.

Oak Bay High student Sophie de Goede was named the Young Female Player of the Year during Rugby Canada’s 2016 Awards Dinner. The annual event recognizes individuals, clubs and teams that have positively impacted rugby in Canada and includes volunteer appreciation, annual awards and the latest Hall of Fame and Honorary Life Membership inductees.

Sewer separation, water main redundancy projects garner $1.5 million

Oak Bay was awarded $324,958 for the Uplands Combined Sewer Separation Project and $1,150,172 for the completion of the Henderson Water Main Project

“They’re both identified in our strategic priorities,” Kirby said. “Obviously the Uplands sewage and storm separation project was something we knew was coming for a long time and we’ve been preparing for that, but the water redundancy issue, we weren’t really aware of it until last year. It got moved up in our strategic priorities.”