I ran for election to Oak Bay Council because, at heart, I care about Oak Bay - I love living here and raising my family here.
(Short on time - Get my Brochure with a summary of my Platform)
These are some of my core positions and policies. Please share with me your views. I am always open to new ideas and innovations.
- Oak Bay is the best place to live in greater Victoria. Why? Because of the quality of our single-family dwelling neighbourhoods - they are safe, quiet and unique. Most of our roads are not congested with traffic and lined with parked cars. These are some of the reasons why people want to live, and to continue to live, in Oak Bay.
- I will work hard to ensure our zoning and building bylaws reflect planned development. It is apparent the present ad hoc, spot-zoning approach we currently have has too many "unintended consequences". I will continue to discourage the reconstruction or replacement of existing homes with larger, out of scale structures that not only interfere with the neighbouring properties but also significantly reduce our urban forest.
- I am also concerned with housing affordability. I support the BC Government’s systematic and comprehensive "30 Point Plan for Housing Affordability in British Columbia". I highly recommend all become familiar with it. Regarding the included vacancy tax, I have lobbied government directly that it not be applied to any Canadian citizen - in a similar way to other countries' application of this necessary measure. I will continue to recommend some of the innovative affordable housing ideas I have suggested to Council that respect the character of our community.
- Short-term rentals (STR) are a new phenomenon that all local governments are struggling with. These are displacing long-term rentals and disturbing neighbours. I will press for strong regulation and enforcement. My research has identified several small BC communities that have had good success and are well supported by the courts when enforcement was necessary.
- Our single-family neighbourhoods must be protected and preserved, but it is obvious that this is not the intent of the majority of our previous two councils. The majority of recent councils have made it clear they want to significantly increase the density of our single-family neighbourhoods by wholesale legalization of: secondary suites, lane-way and garden suites, duplexes, etc. This will have serious impacts on our live-ability that need proper analysis and input from the affected neighbourhoods.
- Uncontrolled growth, related to taxes, will put too much pressure on our already under-funded infrastructure, and create more noise, more traffic, and parking problems. Our growth must be planned and gradual so our taxes and services and resources and excellent staff can absorb and handle the impacts. Our high taxes should have been allocated to improvement initiatives and not to supporting development priorities - for this reason I voted against the 2018 budget.
- There is no doubt change is inevitable; but careful planning and excellent public consultation will ensure it will be positive change.
- I will work hard to protect the rights of existing residents and the general public interest. I am concerned the Official Community plan is too vague and has too many loopholes. It is already time for the Provincial recommended five-year review.
- I believe Joni Mitchell got it right with her line "That you don't know what you've got / Till it's gone". If elected I will fight to protect what we’ve got and help to make sure it stays. When change is needed, I prefer a slow and steady approach.
P.S. I support Proportional Representation and will be voting for change - from our current "first past the post" voting system. Please learn what this is about as the mail-in referendum is coming very soon! Here are a few links to get you started:
I encourage you to contact me with your ideas. Let's work on this together.
Eric Wood Zhelka