Oak Bay Vanishes Survey

Dear candidate

Oak Bay Vanishes was established in 2015 in response to the increasing number of demolitions of older character homes across our community. The Facebook page includes photos of disappearing homes as well as articles on policy initiatives being undertaken by municipal governments in cities facing similar challenges to Oak Bay.

Oak Bay Vanishes is interested in your views on the potential priorities for the next council with respect to housing in Oak Bay. 

The Official Community Plan, adopted in 2013, contemplated an increase in the mix of accessible and affordable housing over a period of ten to twenty years. Specifically, respondents to a community-wide questionnaire and various community consultations said they favored more multi-family housing and various types of infill housing.

Please check which forms of infill and multi-family housing you will support if elected and explain why, if you feel the need.


1. Regulation of secondary suites in existing private homes (approximately 800 suites)

Yes __________ No________

This question is wrong and was debunked via detailed data from BC Assessments.  There are only 474 housing units in Oak Bay that contain a second kitchen that can be considered a Secondary Suite.  These units are Grandfathered as Legal Non-conforming and will continue (as long as the house exists).  Please stop disseminating inaccurate information.

If there are houses with major recent additions done without a building permit, these must be rectified.  That’s the law.  It’s to protect health and safety for all of us. 

Please see the experience of City of Delta, BC, with their attempts to fairly setup Regulation of Secondary Suites - http://bit.ly/deltasuites 

Unfortunately, many illegal, unsafe suites had to be shut down in Delta; and the fees never paid for the program - general taxes did.  Essentially, building a new house with a Secondary Suite is much less expensive/more efficient long term.


2. Regulation and inclusion of secondary suites in newly built single-family houses

Yes ____ ✔______ No________


3. Legalization of non-conforming duplexes (approximately 70 units) so that the existing and future duplexes permit separate ownership for each unit

Yes _____ ✔_____ No_________

I would prefer to do this along with “Increased use of large heritage homes as multi-family dwellings” (before Secondary Suites), but Council did not support my suggestion.


4. Zoning changes to allow more duplexes, triplexes, and townhouses to be built in all areas of Oak Bay

Yes ____________ No ____ ✔_____

I have a problem with “all” as I wish to include a public engagement process with each affected neighbourhood.


5. Zoning changes to allow condominium and rental apartments to be built along major roads and bus routes in our villages (e.g. Oak Bay Village and Estevan) and corner commercial areas (e.g. Central and St. Patrick)

Yes ____ ✔______ No __________

This is a natural evolution of our District as it grows.


6. Inclusion of requirements that developers must classify at least 10 percent of units for less than market pricing or market rental rates to help address affordability and accessibility for low and moderate income families

Yes ____ ✔______ No __________


7. Inclusion of requirements that developers include community amenities in any new building or conversion of older large homes, with more than four units

Yes ____ ✔______ No __________


8. Zoning changes to allow laneway homes to be built where back lanes exist and the minimum lot size is defined

Yes ____________ No ____✔_____

Maybe.  First, I wish to include a public engagement process with each affected neighbourhood.


9. Increased use of large heritage homes as multi-family dwellings through an application of Heritage Revitalization Agreements

Yes _____✔______ No ___________

This can both help to add in needed housing AND help to provide a cost effective way to maintain our heritage homes and streetscapes.


10. Institute an OAK BAY Homes Trust on municipal land or land covenanted to the municipality by private or institutional donors in order to improve housing stock for low and moderate income individuals and families

Yes _____✔______ No ___________

As long as it was operated by CRD Housing (or some other existing non-profit agency).


11. To protect our existing tree canopy, require all new developments to REPLACE every tree removed with new trees, including on private property not just municipal land

Yes _____✔______ No ____________


Your COMMENTS

Due to the aberration of both “Vacant houses as Investments” & “AirBnB/Short-Term Rentals” distorting the affordability of homes for all, I don't see any other pragmatic way to deal with this than the comprehensive & systematic way that the province has suggested in their 30 Point plan for Housing Affordability: http://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf

Please note-  I was the only Oak Bay councillor to vote in full support of the Vacancy Tax - as 5% of Oak Bay houses sit empty, as investments (7% in City of Victoria).  As pointed out in our OCP, this problem is growing & must be addressed.  The least expensive and most effective approach is at the provincial level.

FYI, here is some research on a Vacancy Tax effect on # of Vacant Housing Units from Vancouver’s experience:
https://council.vancouver.ca/20160308/documents/rr1presentation.pdf

Also, over the last 4 years, the # of AirBnB/Short-Term Rentals have increased exponentially, removing these units from long term rental.  Other BC cities and towns have shown that strong regulations/strong enforcement is essential to maintain affordable rental options for long term residents.  Here is my research to date on regulation of AirBnB/Short-Term Rentals:

2017 - https://photos.app.goo.gl/jpztCn6r8zY3Qps62
2018 - https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y31wdAwxqKko3Ado9

Comments, suggestions always welcome, and thank you for doing this survey!



Please return your completed questionnaire by Thursday, October 11th, 2018


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