Oak Bay’s much-anticipated development tracker is online.
The initiative was number 32 of the 56 recommendations in the mayor’s task force on public engagement report. That committee was created in 2018 with the goal of making processes more transparent and easier for the public to provide input into district decisions.
The project came in under the $16,500 budget, staff told council, sitting as committee, during the Oct. 18 meeting.
Applications made after June 1 will show on the new development application tracker, available online at oakbay.ca. Staff expect to have ongoing refinement as processes and technology improve.
The tracker shows active applications and an archive can also be selected. The software can filter applications from those at the advisory design panel to those needing rezoning – or none.
A file shows relevant information, map and dates an application is expected at public district meetings. Residents can also register to view if there are changes to the tracker “tasks” on an individual file.
Subdivision applications do not appear on the tracker.
Council all offered kudos to staff and Coun. Esther Paterson pointed out many residents have been seeking such a program for some time.
“I’m sure any members of the community that have applications in the process, this is certainly an easy way to find out the status of it without having to constantly call the hall,” she added.
The bulk of the costs associated with implementation came in staff time, with the software landing in the $6,000-range, said Donna Costin, information technology project manager. As with most software, there will be a yearly fee. The new programming also adds very little staff time, while updating files automatically.
Municipal staff are also creating an instructional video to help the public use the new service. Anyone seeking help can also call the building and planning department at 250-598-2042.