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Thank you for considering donating to my Re-Election run as Councillor representing you for the District of Oak Bay.
Eric Wood Zhelka, P.Eng
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 has been very apparent to me that the ad hoc, spot-zoning approach we still 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.
- Reconciliation: as the third order of government, we have no legal requirement to do anything. Morally is a different matter. It is incumbent upon us to do more but not necessarily drive the process. I prefer a mutually beneficial shared approach based on humility and respect, lest we or others be accused of repeating past patterns. At the very least, Oak Bay as a Council will need to be nimble with the changes that, most likely, will be requested from the Federal and Provincial levels (and maybe downloaded to us?).
We will also need to continue to help our community embrace a wider community - which sometimes means Council gets out of the way, as some community groups move faster than we ever could. I am so proud of the depth of experience and volunteerism in Oak Bay. This must be supported.
- I am also concerned with housing affordability. I supported the BC Government’s systematic and comprehensive "30 Point Plan for Housing Affordability in British Columbia". I highly recommend all become familiar with it and the positive affect (in terms of increasing housing supply) brought on by the vacancy tax. I also lobbied that this be expanded to more BC communities. I will continue to recommend innovative affordable housing ideas 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 am pleased that Council supported my desire to outlaw them until we have a regulated process in place that does not displace long term rentals. I will press for strong enforcement.
- Our single-family neighbourhoods must be protected and preserved, thoughtful application of Infill to increase the density of already built up areas or those areas on a transit line make more sense to me than an wholesale legalization. This will have serious impacts on our live-ability that need proper analysis and input from the affected neighbourhoods.
- Application of our award winning Asset Management plan. Pipes in the ground are still flooding basements when the rains come. Any uncontrolled growth will put too much pressure on our already under-funded infrastructure. Our growth must be planned and gradual so our community, taxes, services, resources, and excellent staff can absorb and handle the impacts. Our high taxes should be allocated to core infrastructure improvements and not to supporting development priorities.
- There is no doubt change is inevitable; but careful planning and excellent public consultation will ensure it will be positive change.
- The Oak Bay Official Community Plan is up for renewal in this upcoming mandate. I want to work with my community on a shared vision - that we express there. With transparency, I will work hard to protect the rights of existing residents and the general public interest.
- 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.
I encourage you to contact me with your ideas. Let's work on this together!
Eric Wood Zhelka