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Oak Bay residents keen to see health care return to Oak Bay Lodge site

Oak Bay residents would like to see a mix of health-care services on the former Oak Bay Lodge property.
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The former Oak Bay Lodge is in the process of being demolished. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Oak Bay residents would like to see a mix of health-care services on the former Oak Bay Lodge property.

Capital Regional Hospital District representatives visited Oak Bay council this past week to discuss results of public consultation about the site.

“The community is very supportive of eldercare, a public-health clinic, day programs for elders — those kinds of services,” said Oak Bay Coun. Cairine Green.

A small hospice facility was mentioned as a possibility by Coun. Hazel Braithwaite.

Green said one issue causing concern is the idea of mental-health and addiction services on the parcel, which sits in the middle of a residential area and is close to three schools.

The Capital Regional District took possession of the 235-bed care facility on Cadboro Bay Road last year after former residents were moved to the Summit on Hillside Avenue. The building, erected in 1972, is in the process of being demolished.

Island Health will ultimately determine what happens on the the 1.6-hectare parcel, Green said.

Covenants on the property stipulate that it must accommodate the elderly and be used for the public good, she said. “The only control that Oak Bay has would be at the zoning process, but there is no application yet.”

Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch said further interaction will come after the hospital district board meets in December.

“Once it’s firmed up a little bit, it will be really worthwhile to go back and tease out these ideas a bit, and get a sense of what that looks like going forward.”

Options presented to the public included a development with only health services — up to 10 — and a building of six storeys. Other options were one to two health services and another unspecified component at three to five storeys, and one to three seniors-related services at three to five storeys.

Green said council stressed the importance of the community being “well-canvassed.” The hospital district received 850 completed surveys, and 173 people attended online open houses.

CRD directors in September 2020 voted against looking at housing seniors without homes in the building during the pandemic.

B.C. Housing said it would take too long to modify or lift the covenant requiring the property be used as a retirement home.

jbell@timescolonist.com