If you love where you live, imagine being able to shape what your community might look like in 50 years.

That’s the goal of the Oaklands Neighbourhood Plan steering committee.

Harry Kope is president of the Oaklands Community Association.  “The City of Victoria has 14 different neighbourhoods, and it has tasked each of the 14 neighbourhoods to come up with a neighbourhood plan.”

“It’s a two year initiative” says Robert Tornack, chair of Oaklands Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee.  “We’re now into about six months. We know we’re going to densify. We know we have to look at land use, we know we have to look at traffic. We really want to work towards a 20 minute neighbourhood, so people can live, work, and play in the area of Oaklands.”

Bordered by Cook Street, Haultain Street, Shelbourne Street and North Dairy Road, Oaklands is a mainly residential community.  The steering committee has been canvassing residents each Wednesday evening at the Oaklands Sunset Market.

“We’re there with a tent” says Sarah Murray from Oaklands Community Association, “and we’re asking different questions each week.  Everything from food programming to sustainable living to transportation, and barriers to transportation.”

Chris Holt, executive director of the Oaklands Community Association, adds that the steering committee will be “going into the Hillside Centre, we’re going to have mail-out surveys, we’re going on social media conducting surveys.  We want to understand the perspective of the neighbourhood as much as possible.”

“I’m representing the Oaklands Rise Woonerf,” says John O’Brien, another member of the Oaklands Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee who’s passion is creating a truly walkable community.  “Woonerf is spelt W-o-o-n-e-r-f but actually pronounced the Dutch way, ‘vaughn-airf.’   It’s a concept through which residential low traffic, low volume streets become places for people, such that we retain the character and the ambiance of the area, and we bring in things like pollinators, plantings, sculptural elements to slow traffic.”

“The next 50 years are going to see unprecedented changes.  Environmentally, socially…all the pressures that are coming down, so we need to have people stand up and say ‘ok, these are the values we want to have moving forward.’ ”

The delivery date to the City of Victoria for the Oaklands Neighbourhood Plan is December 2020.

Veronica Cooper