Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Coverage in the Oak Bay News

Oak Bay News

Candidates line up for Oak Bay council race

Unfinished business yet to be taken care of is the reason most returning Oak Bay councillors are running again for municipal office.

“The Oak Bay Beach hotel will come back (as an issue),” said Coun. Allan Cassidy, who was first elected in 1996. A practicing architect, Cassidy is chair of Oak Bay’s land use committee and his focus will continue to be around development issues, he said. In particular, Cassidy is keen to see modest Oak Bay homes saved from demolition.

“We keep looking at these demolition permit requests and (saying) ‘Tsk, tsk, we really should do something about losing all these bungalows,’ but we haven’t really done much.”

Cassidy wants to see some sort of incentive system put in place to encourage homeowners to renovate rather than demolish homes in the $500,000 to $700,000 range.

Allan Cassidy is married, has three adult children and has lived in Oak Bay since the early 1990s.

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite is also running again, aiming for a second term on council. She also wants to see the Oak Bay Beach hotel rise again. In addition, she is looking forward to following through on the “Mack and Jeanne” mixed-used development proposal for Estevan village.

“It’s going to be the next big thing because, once we start with one building there, I think others will follow suit.”

Whether to allow secondary suites in Oak Bay will continue to be an issue. Braithwaite will oversee that debate as chair of a committee that was struck last spring to examine the prospect. That committee, made up of elected and citizen members, has yet to meet. Braithwaite and her husband have lived in Oak Bay since 1988. Although she works as a learning specialist for Coast Capital Savings, her background is in geophysics.

Retired financial accountant John Herbert is again running for council.

“I think we have some interesting problems facing us,” Herbert said, “with sewage treatment and prioritizing our needs for new buildings and new programs to meet our changing population so I thought I would like to do it one more time.” Maintaining taxes at an affordable level in Oak Bay is going to be a challenge, Herbert said, given infrastructure upgrades the municipality must contemplate.

Herbert has lived in Oak Bay for 42 years. Married, he and his wife have three adult children and three grandchildren.

Government planner Pam Copley will run for a second term in the Nov. 15 municipal election.

“The experience of my first term on Oak Bay council has been richly rewarding,” Copley said, “(but also) a huge learning curve, sometimes intense and always incredibly busy.”

Copley was an advocate for cycling lanes on Henderson Road and served as Oak Bay’s representative on the regional library board.

She has lived in Oak Bay over 30 years. Copley is married and has three children ranging in age from teenager to young adults. Her father, 93, also lives with her family.

Crown prosecutor Nils Jensen was first elected to Oak Bay council in 1996. Jensen has been an advocate for cycling lanes along Henderson Road, she favours allowing more seating at south Oak Bay eateries and is currently trumpeting an expanded organic waste recycling program for Oak Bay. (Cloistered in a Vancouver court room this week, Jensen was unavailable for comment.)

Christopher Causton will run again for mayor for a record fifth term. Oak Bay mayoralty terms used to be for only year, said Oak Bay’s archivist Jean Sparks. “Then it moved to two years, then three. The most any mayor has sat for has been six years,” she said.

Causton refers to himself “as a generalist rather than a specialist.”

He does have specific projects he would like to see started up, if he gets to lead for another term. An upgrade for Carnarvon Park, more work completed on Henderson Park and Monterey Centre, as well as his pet project, completion of the E&N trail, are on his radar screen.

This year, the mayor has some competition in retired naval officer Ron Telfer. Causton said the competition is a good thing.

“I feel like I can actually get my message out and let people know who I am. No one knows who I am,” he joked.

Next week: The Newcomers. Oak Bay News will profile four Oak Bay residents vying for one vacant council seat and the one hopeful eyeing the mayor’s chair.

vmoreau@saanichnews.com

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