Oak Bay is on track to add a development tracker showing current development applications online, in line with most municipalities in the region.
The cost for Oak Bay is about $16,500 in the 2021 budget. The tracker wouldn’t show up until after the spring approval of the financial plan.
It’s something residents have asked Mayor Kevin Murdoch about before but with a lot fewer developments going in Oak Bay than other cities, the demand has been minimal of recent, the mayor said.
“We expect people will appreciate having the updates available. Any time you can provide ready access to information, that’s something you should consider,” Murdoch said.
— District of Oak Bay (@DistrictOakBay) January 23, 2021
Oak Bay’s development tracker could look a lot like the City of Victoria’s, as they use the same software, Murdoch said.
The Township of Esquimalt, population of 17,000 to Oak Bay’s 18,000, launched a development tracker in 2018.
Saanich has had a simpler application on its website that also shows the current status of development applications and includes copies of site plans and council reports, when available. View Royal also has a list of current development applications on its website.
For now, residents can call the District of Oak Bay for updates on rezoning and other development applications.
The initiative to add the development tracker in Oak Bay is number 32 of the 56 recommendations in the Mayor’s Task Force on Public Engagement report. The committee was created in 2018 with the goal of making processes more transparent and make it easier for the public to provide input into district decisions.
The development tracker will support other recommendations such as No. 8, which is to better explain, with a visual outline, how council decisions are made and how public input is considered for decisions such as land-use and official community plan amendments. Work on a visual graphic for this is in progress.
Many of the recommendations will show up in Oak Bay’s new online engagement portal, oakbay.civicweb.net/portal, such as links to the webcasts for coming council meetings.
Oak Bay also launched a question and answer forum called Fact or Fiction last year where residents can ask staff for clarification on municipal issues.
— District of Oak Bay (@DistrictOakBay) January 15, 2021