Coun. Hazel Braithwaite on the steps of Oak Bay municipal hall where staff have created a new Connect Oak Bay website to help connect the community digitally during a time of social distancing. (Oakbay.ca)

Oak Bay launches webpage to help residents connect

Social media-style page there to share energy, ideas

The District of Oak Bay has launched a new website to support the emotional well-being of its residents.

Connect Oak Bay, at connect.oakbay.ca, is a social media-styled webpage that Oak Bay created on May 5, nearly two months after residents started isolating to break the chains of COVID-19 transmission.

“We recognize the isolation that many are feeling during COVID-19 and wanted to provide a space where community members could connect, share ideas and spread some kindness throughout the community,” says the district website.

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The idea of the new page is for the public to “share how they are staying connected while apart from loved ones, celebrate successes of people in their life who they cannot physically celebrate with, and share stories of kindness that they have experienced in the community,” it says.

The page features boxes where submissions will show up. The early prompts are for residents to share suggestions and stories of what they’ve been doing during COVID-19.

“There was a discussion around this as something that everyone can go to,” said Coun. Hazel Braithwaite. “It came from staff and it’s important to acknowledge that. It shows that staff is thinking about the community and trying to support it.”

The Connect Oak Bay webpage could be permanent if it’s well received, she added.

“We could consider keeping it permanently, but that will require staff time and energy so it would need to be really, really well received.”

The launch of Connect Oak Bay came a few days before Oak Bay also introduced the new COVID-19 Ambassadors program. Again, both show the effort of staff in Oak Bay’s Emergency Operations Centre as it continues to adjust and be a leader during the pandemic.

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“The ambassadors are an awesome thing for so many reasons,” Braithwaite said.

For now, the councillor is hoping to see more things shared on the new web page, especially how businesses have stayed open, or how they are reopening, she said.

“I want to know what businesses are doing, and which ones are coming back online to serve the public, because we need to be able to support them,” Braithwaite said. “Otherwise, put your 7 p.m. cheer on there. Take interesting pictures of things around your house, your yard, your block, and share.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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