Tent city moved from Oak Bay Municipal Hall to Willows Park at Willows Beach to protest the lack of affordable housing. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)                                Two years after Roaming Tent City spent time at Oak Bay Municipal Hall and Willows Beach, the lack of affordable housing in Oak Bay is a key finding in the new Housing Needs Study. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Tent city moved from Oak Bay Municipal Hall to Willows Park at Willows Beach to protest the lack of affordable housing. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News) Two years after Roaming Tent City spent time at Oak Bay Municipal Hall and Willows Beach, the lack of affordable housing in Oak Bay is a key finding in the new Housing Needs Study. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Study shows Oak Bay’s dwindling population is rapidly aging

Housing Needs Study says Oak Bay facing a shortfall of 349 bedrooms

Oak Bay is shrinking and aging at the same time according to a provincially mandated Housing Needs Study released to the Tweed City this week.

Oak Bay is among the first towns in B.C. to receive the study and council will soon decide what to do with it. On Monday night Oak Bay council sent the 46-page report back for a few amendments of “clarity and additional data,” said Mayor Kevin Murdoch.

The Housing Needs Study, produced by planning consultants Urban Matters, noted Oak Bay’s median age of 52.4 is “much higher than the CRD’s median age of 44.8.”

“Between 2006 and 2016, the number of [Oak Bay] residents under 65 declined by 1,050, while the number of residents 65 and over grew by 880 residents,” the report says.

The report also asserts that Oak Bay is missing the ‘middle housing’ piece of affordable, rental, singles and family housing. It adds up to a current estimated shortage of 349 bedrooms to make up for its share of the housing shortfall in Greater Victoria. This is based on a projected 1.1 per cent growth and relative building development, said Murdoch.

It should be noted that these are occupied bedrooms and does not address that Oak Bay’s proliferation of empty bedrooms.

“Keep in mind we’ve had a projected growth rate of 0.5 per cent in the OCP since 1996,” Murdoch said. “And we’ve never come close to that.”

READ ALSO: Supportive, low-income housing doesn’t hurt nearby property values, says B.C. study

The report also projects a need for 647 more bedrooms within five years.

While Oak Bay was among the first wave of all municipalities in B.C. to order the study, the report’s key findings will not prompt Oak Bay council into any immediate action, Murdoch noted.

The reality is Oak Bay is bereft of options, Murdoch noted.

The Corporation’s district land is all used up for parks, buildings, services and parking lots.

“Ultimately this report is a baseline,” Murdoch said. “We will use it with the secondary suites study and housing studies to create our future development and housing plan, which we want to complete this [election] term.”

Back in April the province mandated all municipalities and regional districts in B.C. to have the report completed by April 2022.

For consistency purposes, the study is based on data from BC Assessment, BC Housing, BC Stats, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Statistics Canada Census.

The report comes at a time of polarizing arguments as Oak Bay is expected to decrease in population by 500 people over the next 20 years (according to CRD’s 2018 regional growth strategy) while the rest of the region balloons.

In the past few years, Oak Bay council has denied a series of multi-unit development projects that would have added hundreds of bedrooms.

The Quest 15-unit condo proposal on Oak Bay Avenue was denied in 2017 (a new application has been submitted nearly two metres lower and with a penthouse removed), while the Clive developers reduced their proposal from 23 suites to 19.

There’s also the United Church’s 96-unit mixed housing development proposal (including affordable housing) that they essentially gave up on due to public backlash but plan on bringing back.

Housing Needs Study numbers:

– The cost of a single-family home grew in Oak Bay by 48 per cent from 2010 to 2018 while household income only rose 12 per cent.

– The number of renter households in Oak Bay decreased from 2,090 households in 2006 to 1,830 households in 2016

– The number of 1,080 primary rental units in Oak Bay is a static number

reporter@oakbaynews.com

– This story was updated on Dec. 13 to correct two errors regarding development applications. The United Church abandoned its original application for the 96-unit mixed housing project before it made it to council. The Clive proposal’s reduction from 23 to 19 suites was not a council ask. We regret the error.

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

Just Posted

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

Local MP Elizabeth May says the public has a right to know the identity of the company that plans to operate the massive warehouse proposed for Sidney on airport lands but residents who want to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts. (Black Press Media File)
MP Elizabeth May says public has right to know identity of Sidney warehouse operator

Residents wanting to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts, said May

Bukwila by Art Thompson, set at the steps of Lansdowne campus’ Wilna Thomas Cultural Centre, has been welcoming students to campus since 1997. (Photo courtesy of Camosun College)
World-renowned artist’s legacy lives on at Camosun College

Art Thompson made untold contributions toward Indigenous education, art and advocacy

Did you know, according to the CRD, every person produces an average of 185–200 litres of wastewater per day? Here’s where most of it gets treated, at the new wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. (CRD image)
View Royal signs on to wastewater funding plan

Capital Regional District requesting to borrow up to $34.3 million to upgrade infrastructure

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Most Read