Open any newspaper from generations back and land issues generally appear a top priority. Oak Bay is no different, three key issues expected to make headlines in 2022 include an impending lease for municipally-owned land at Spewhung/Turkey Head, the future of the former Oak Bay lodge site and development of a municipal secondary suite policy.
Talking Turkey Head
A conversation that started years ago took major strides in 2021 as Oak Bay sought proposals for a new 30-year lease at 1327 Beach Dr.
Oak Bay owns the land and has a lease with the province for the foreshore/aquatic area. Currently, the district leases the land and buildings and subleases the provincial areas to the Oak Bay Marine Group. That lease ends in December 2022.
The district issued a request for proposals last year and early this year, two – labelled Proponent A and Proponent 1 – were put to the public for review. Oak Bay received more than 600 responses as well as input through emails and during a special committee meeting.
On the advice of a professional, council opted for one broad opportunity for public input. After a proponent was selected, the Community Association of Oak Bay voiced concern residents didn’t have enough input as the process began.
It’s a site that all agree is critical to the community. Funds for further public consultation surrounding the long-term lease are up for discussion in next year’s budget.
In May, following scoring of technical, community amenity and financial proposals, council selected a proposal later revealed to be submitted by Oak Bay Marine Group. The district started lease negotiations that continue into 2022.
Before signing a lease, the district is required under the Community Charter to publish notice of its intent to grant the lease and identify the amount of rent and other considerations.
Lodge land development
Even as the building slowly comes down at 2251 Cadboro Bay Rd., the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD) continues to refine ideas for proposed services and building options for the 3.9-acre lot.
The budget for the demolition of the 50-year-old building was estimated at $1.4 million and includes hazardous material removal.
The 235-bed Oak Bay Lodge senior care facility closed in August 2020 after the last tenants were moved to The Summit on Hillside Avenue in Victoria.
Consultation between CRHD, Island Health and the public started early in January with several opportunities over the year – primarily online due to COVID-19 concerns. Suggestions included uses of primary care, seniors hub, public health and addictions, and mental health. An Island Health needs assessment suggested suitable programs include seniors housing and supports; primary and community care; intermediate and short-term housing; rehabilitation services; and some non-health-care uses such as affordable housing and independent seniors housing.
The property has a pair of covenants on it dating back to its 1971 sale which requires it be used as a retirement home and for the public good. All proposed development options for the property require a rezoning application.
The study into a secondary suites policy for Oak Bay started in 2018 and council saw a draft final strategy this October. At that time, council offered direction on several items to help whittle down the suite strategy.
Conversation continues around what requirements should or shouldn’t look like surrounding owner occupancy, parking and boarders.
Staff are tasked with bringing back a report in 2022 to clarify and inform the parking conversation and address questions brought up during a November meeting.
It’s just the first step as Oak Bay hopes to address infill housing, village area plans and in 2023, a zoning bylaw review, as it develops a housing framework.