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

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

oak bay council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich golfer and top B.C. junior and juvenile player Willy Bishop was named to the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Jenny Bishop)
Saanich student to tee-off with national golf team

Willy Bishop, 16, named to Canadian National Junior Golf Squad in 2021

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

A rendering of Victoria Wonderland, a drive-thru immersive holiday experience that has been cancelled due to COVID-19. (Courtesy of Transcend Victoria)
Victoria Wonderland drive-thru show cancelled due to COVID-19

Organizers hope to host a similar event, if restrictions allow, in the new year

Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Popular Swiftsure yacht race cancelled for second consecutive year

International sailing race hopes to run its 77th event in 2022

Andrew McBride is among those who deck out for Sea of Lights floating ship parade annually. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic sinks Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s Sea of Lights

Oak Bay club encourages donations to the charities event supports

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read