LETTER: Toolkit will improve public engagement

Kudos to the District of Oak Bay for finally adopting most of the public engagement toolkit recommendations contained in the Mayor’s Task Force Report on Public Engagement submitted to the last mayor and council along with the recent staff report on the same topic.

These two documents affirm the importance of providing citizens with the information we need to participate in a meaningful way in the changes in our community and the importance of elected officials and municipal staff listening to what they hear. Our elected officials are chosen to represent us, and when engaging us, in a respectful and real manner, better outcomes for our collective future will be found.

As a member of the earlier mayor’s task force that produced the toolkit and more than 50 ideas for engagement, I am pleased to see this moving at long last. And it is just in time to take a pause on the planning and any related decisions on the future of the publicly owned marina and adjacent property known as Spewhung (Turkey Head) and do engagement right. This is a huge opportunity for Oak Bay, and done right could really put our part of the world on the map.

Future planning for Oak Bay Village and our village nodes (see our official community plan) as well as any other major undertakings should also include robust public engagement activities.

Thanks again for adopting the report and the staff recommendations. Now the real work can begin.

Jan Mears

Oak Bay