An Oak Bay resident wants her roads fixed, and she’s happy to see taxes go up to make it happen.
“Where Heron turns into Lincoln, towards the Willows Beach end, there’s more potholes than street,” said Oak Bay resident Tamara Lechner. “They fill them in, but the really fun thing is there will be 12 and they’ll fill three of them. I realize that they’re probably replacing the whole road eventually, but it’s at the point now where I drive down the street the rocks are being kicked up and are hitting the bottom of the car as though it was a dirt road, but it’s actually a paved road.”
Lechner says she’s heard concerns that roads aren’t safe for cycling, or that cars might be damaged. She says she’s asked a road work team about why they don’t do more, and was told there wasn’t the money in the budget.
“I think what Oak Bay is going to have to do is – over probably a 10-year period – is raise taxes incrementally but fairly significantly. They would be able to immediately borrow against the planned increase and get the work done,” Lechner said. “Get the money now and do it now before it becomes un-repairable and you have to rebuild everything.”
She understands that tax increases might be hard for some of Oak Bay’s retirees and residents who live on fixed incomes, but believes that gains made on assessed values over the years could help people cope with higher tax bills.
“We moved from Ontario and we moved from a house that was valued at less than $500,000, and we pay less tax here for a house that’s valued over a $1,000,000,” Lechner said. “So definitely we’re not paying what we should.”
Mayor Kevin Murdoch said that according to Oak Bay’s pavement management plan, the District should be spending $2.8 million per year on that infrastructure. He said last year they only spent $700,000 dollars, and council is considering tax increases to fix that funding deficit.