Oak Bay will delve deeper into the regulatory aspects of whale watching before allowing it at Oak Bay Marina.
During the May 3 public hearing at Oak Bay High, council heard primarily environmental concerns from residents over the potential use.
“When we had the public hearing it was only on the zoning bylaw,” said Mayor Nils Jensen.
The bylaw up for public hearing that night was one of two ways Oak Bay limits whale watching. That bylaw did pass lifting the moratorum. The lease bylaw with Oak Bay Marine Group doesn’t require a public hearing, and still limits whale watching “until we’ve had a chance to look at guidelines and protections,” Jensen said. “That gives us more flexibility and it would be easier to change from time to time.”
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Oak Bay Marine Group added bicycle rentals, kayak rentals and rowing rentals in the past two years.
“What’s allowed now is bike rentals [and] greater use of the parking lot – similar to the kinds of uses we permit at the municipal hall parking lot and our streets,” Jensen said. “What’s being held pending further discussion with the community is the guidelines and protections necessary to ensure appropriate whale watching practices.”