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Council seeks outside help on Oak Bay Lodge redevelopment

Consultant will help Baptist Housing converse with public

This time, let's get it right.

That's the message being sent by Oak Bay council, which is preparing to take a look at a fresh proposal from Baptist Housing for a new residential care facility to replace Oak Bay Lodge, as reported in the News earlier this month.

Baptist Housing's original proposal, which required a pair of variance permits, was rejected by council in November amid concerns that the application process had been rushed. At the time, neighbours of the proposed development vocalized their displeasure at what they perceived as a lack of proper public consultation before the proposal went to council.

An impending election and suggestions of a financing deadline for the project also contributed to the hurried feel of the proceedings.

But the issue of residential care in Oak Bay is still very important, said Mayor Nils Jensen, and because of that the municipality will hire an independent planning consultant to help move the process along more smoothly this time.

"That is something this council is committed to, to ensure that the consultations are full and meaningful," Jensen said.

Baptist Housing has agreed to take on some of the cost of hiring the consultant, which has yet to be determined.

Municipal staff have been asked to come up with a recommended candidate for the position in time for the Feb. 6 council meeting, when councillors will also have their first look at the new proposal.

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