Oak Bay is currently seeking feedback on two proposals that will shape the future use and development of the Oak Bay Marina and Turkey Head lands.
Whichever proposal is accepted will determine what happens for the next 30 years.
What you may not know is that I have another proposal; not an attempt to compete with the existing ones but to offer a long-range plan that reinforces the best of each and to offer new ideas that are outside the realm of either.
The Dream Plan, as I call it, fixes that which we believe needs fixing in the short term and proposes new and imaginative attractions for the future, whenever the will and the resources to build them become available.
The strategy is organized in two phases.
Phase 1 proposes ways in which the District of Oak Bay could control the unregulated boats and rafts adjacent to the marina, make more efficient use of these waters and deal with the sunken craft that lie underneath.
Phase 2 focuses on fostering our marine heritage with cultural and natural history attractions that suit such a treasured and historical location. But these plans can only be realized if we make that leap of imagination into unfamiliar territory we have described, a leap that will leave a valuable legacy for our children and make us all proud.
Some of what I propose is not much different from our counterparts. We see that the present marina space cannot be expanded and that there is an urgent need not only to use the existing anchorage area in Oak Bay more efficiently but to also consider using the sea next to Turkey Head.
I, therefore, propose new floating facilities and a small island on which a unique seaquarium and related marine heritage facilities could be developed here.
I agree with the need to keep a similar building footprint and building height for Turkey Head and to create a community and cultural focus to retain the open space and multi-use potential of the infill lands. More facilities can be created for paddling and rowing sports, and to install a long-overdue pump-out station outlined in one of the proposals.
Where we differ is not crowding these facilities, but locating these and the many other facilities we propose on adjacent waters. There is an opportunity to use the ample room of the open waters so that marine-oriented recreation can continue to grow. The present marina space cannot be expanded and there is an urgent need not only to use the existing anchorage area in Oak Bay more efficiently but to also consider using the sea next to Turkey Head.
I also propose a new breakwater on the south side of Turkey Head. It can be built in a manner that would both protect the shoreline and marine-related activities proposed, while also enhancing its biological health and biodiversity.
Establishing a new marine and community attraction as proposed could see Oak Bay being recognized by mariners and tourists alike as Vancouver Island’s Gateway to Victoria and north to Alaska. The bonus is a special place for people to play, meet and linger, and do more than kick boat-fenders and check the fish-fileting.
For more information on the untapped potential of the marina and adjacent Oak Bay waterfront, read my heavenly conversation between Bob Wright and Kris Kringle (from Christmas Eve) at https://bit.ly/2PqfmBl.