Times-Colonist Newspaper Survey

Times-Colonist Candidate information - District of Oak Bay

Eric Wood Zhelka (incumbent) — Website | Facebook | Twitter

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Name Eric Wood Zhelka
Age 57
What is your occupation? Professional Engineer (Systems). I work full time at Emergency Management BC in the BC Public Service.
Do you live in Oak Bay? Yes
For how long? 14 Years
Previous elected and/or community experience. My first election success was, as a teenager, to the Algonquin Island (Community) Association executive on the Toronto Island. I have been elected to or have founded a number of community or social organizations since then, most recently co-founding and helping to lead (until I got elected to Council) Oak Bay Watch, www.oakbaywatch.com/ 
Why are you running? What's your motivation?

My training is in systems and I'm a big-picture person. I want to ensure sound, evidenced-based, decision-making with a long term perspective. I also love and really care about the future of Oak Bay.

What are your top three issues? (1) Dollars: Responsible fiscal management and proper funding of necessary upgrades to Oak Bay's crumbling infrastructure
(2) Density: The development of a comprehensive housing plan to guide residential development in Oak Bay
(3) Deer: The non-lethal and humane reduction of the urban deer population in Oak Bay


Policy and positions

We asked candidates to share positions on some of key issues facing communities and how they hope to address them.

What's your position on: Amalgamation I left Toronto with my family after losing the fight against that megacity's unplanned development . I agree with the research of Dr. Robert Bish of UVic who has shown amalgamation does not work, especially the 10 years of chaos that follow. I am for integrating core services - there are many opportunities to do this and to keep taxes in check.
What's your position on: Transportation I'm a strong supporter of the E&N rail and the work of the Island Corridor Foundation. We have people who live across the Capital Region and up Island who work in Oak Bay. Improved and funded regional and inner-city rapid transit will help with housing affordability and a host of other issues.
What's your position on: Affordability I like the concept of "kill two birds with one stone" - see Transportation answer above. I also support the Province's 30 Point Plan for Housing Affordability.
What's your position on: Homelessness Thank goodness for social agencies and all the good works they do. I actively support them.
What's your position on: Taxes A necessary part of peace, order, and good government.
What's your position on: Your choice Emergency repairs are overtaking maintenance of our crumbling infrastructure. Our asset management plan must be moved up in priority.


Vision and ideas

We also asked them about what they'd like to see in the future — and their big ideas!

What's your vision for your community in 25 years? Slow and steady changes that are good for our community.
What's one "big idea" you have for your community? While I support the bike lanes and appreciate the promise of Active Transportation, parking around Oak Bay High School / Dave Dunnet Theatre is now a nightmare, especially for the residents to the north. It may be time for a Municipal Parking structure.

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