Announcement Heritage Conservation Area Working Group

October 18, 2017

Ten Oak Bay residents have been appointed to the Heritage Conservation Area Working Group (HCA Working Group) to help inform and guide community discussions that will explore options, policies and regulations for formal heritage designation in Oak Bay.  One of Council’s strategic priorities, this is a community-led initiative to consider a proposed Heritage Conservation Area bordered by Oak Bay Avenue, Beach Drive, Prospect Place, San Carlos Place and York Place.

Informing and engaging the community is a key priority for the HCA Working Group. 

HCA Working Group members include:

Council Liaison (appointed member of Council, Chair of the working Group)

  • Councillor Kevin Murdoch
  • Council appointment representatives
  • Heather Cochrane – Heritage Commission
  • Matt Fairbarns – Parks, Recreation and Culture
  • Patrick Frey – Advisory Planning Commission
  • Will King – Advisory Design Panel

Representatives from the pilot neighbourhood:

  • Barb Grant
  • Robert Longe
  • Michael Prince

Representatives from the community-at-large:

  • Jean Sparks
  • Andrew Stinson

The Oak Bay HCA Working Group’s first responsibility will be to establish a work plan for Council approval. This will outline the recommended scope, timelines, and process.

“While the current and past Official Community Plans have long supported the idea of a Heritage Conservation Area in principle, this will be the first time I know of that the District of Oak Bay will formally consider establishing an HCA,” said Councillor Kevin Murdoch who will serve as Chair of the HCA Working Group. “Council identified this initiative - and the establishing of a process for future applications - as one of our priorities for 2017-2018.  ‘Protecting and preserving the unique character of Oak Bay’ is a statement that is widely used; through this working group, and with community input, we hope to create something more concrete from that aspirational statement including recommendations on this application, with recommended policies and regulations related to the creation of a Heritage Conservation Area.”

The HCA Working Group will receive support from District staff and a budget of up to $45,000 to advance the initiative. 

“We are very pleased that the Heritage Conservation Working Group has been established,” said Oak Bay resident, Dr. Michael Prince, who has long advocated for formal heritage designation in Oak Bay, and who is serving on the HCA Working Group. “The Working Group is tasked with the responsibility to explore conservation values and aspirations with the broad community, and to determine what a Heritage Conservation Area might look like for Oak Bay neighbourhoods. Once our historical environment is altered, that character and the narrative that is integral to our unique sense of place are gone; they are gone forever. Through this initiative, we will explore our community’s shared-values and our local identity. We will consider the principles and tools we might utilize to ensure we are both strategic and thoughtful when it comes to preserving the distinguishing heritage qualities of our neighbourhoods.” 

The District of Oak Bay currently supports heritage preservation through a number of initiatives, including education, a Community Heritage Registry, and Heritage Designation. The Oak Bay Heritage Commission and Oak Bay Heritage Foundation jointly support heritage preservation and recognition in Oak Bay. The Oak Bay Community Heritage Register is an official list of properties deemed to be of heritage value or character, as adopted by resolution of Oak Bay Municipal Council. It provides formal recognition for historic places and is a useful planning tool for other land use planning processes in the municipality. It does not offer heritage protection, and is not a formal designation.  Designation provides formal legal protection of properties, as well as access to supporting grants for maintenance.

To create a foundation for the initiatives that the HCA Working Group will undertake, the District of Oak Bay is hosting two information sessions on heritage conservation with guest presenter Mr. Murray Miller.

A former resident of Victoria, Mr. Miller will share insight into heritage conservation practices from around the world. Drawing on his vast experience working in the conservation of the historic environment across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Mr. Miller’s presentation will examine heritage conservation in broad terms – what it achieves –  some of the important considerations and tools – and what have other communities adopted.

The community has two opportunities to attend this free public education session:


GUEST PRESENTER: MR. MURRAY MILLER, Heritage Conservation & Management





WINDSOR PAVILLION, 2451 Windsor Road

“Those interested in what a Heritage Conservation Area is or could be, I would encourage them to attend one of the two educational kick-off sessions with Mr. Miller this week,” encouraged Councillor Murdoch.

Mr. Miller’s presentation will be posted on the District’s website as of Monday October 23.