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Oak Bay couple receives anonymous letter calling their home 'revolting'


In 2020, Walt van der Rijst and his wife bought a 1914-built home on Monterey Avenue in Oak Bay.

“We originally thought we were going to renovate,” said van der Rijst.

Those plans were quickly dashed after it became apparent the house was beyond repair. That’s when the couple decided to build new.

“At least then you can get what you truly want,” said van der Rijst.

After settling on a design, the couple completed their build in February 2023.

“Most people were quite positive,” said the proud home owner. “A few people would walk away and say, ‘Well it’s not for me’ and I’d go ‘Ok, thank you.’”

Earlier this month, the couple received an anonymous card in the mail.

“I was somewhat taken aback,” said van der Rijst.

That card read: “Shame, shame, shame on you, for building such a revolting home in Oak Bay, how did it ever get approved,” said van der Rijst. “I couldn’t believe it when I read it, it was too funny.”

Van der Rijst says he has a thick skin and actually found humour within the words of the card.

“Somebody went to the store, bought a card, got a stamp and went through the process of actually going through that much trouble to hate on our home,” said the laughing homeowner.

Van der Rijst says he couldn’t resist posting the letter to the Oak Bay Local Facebook page along with a cheeky thank you to whomever it was that took the time to send the card.

“There’s been an amazing amount of support,” said the Oak Bay homeowner.

Hundreds of comments of support showing that not everyone feels the same way as the cloaked calligrapher.

“Anonymous letters are worth about as much as the name attached to them,” said Kevin Murdoch, the mayor of Oak Bay.

Murdoch says the worst behaviour always comes anonymously.

“We don’t accept anonymous letters to council for that reason, you have to have your name attached to it,” said Murdoch.

The mayor says the idea that modern-built homes do not fit into the character of a neighbourhood is completely incorrect. He says, in fact, it is what creates the character of a neighbourhood in the first place.

“If you walk through our streets you can tell the era that they were built by the design, and so I think that’s the charm, honestly,” said Murdoch.

Van der Rijst isn’t dwelling on the card sent to his home, and he says he actually finds the whole thing absurd.

“I can’t carry something like this around with me and make it rule my life,” said van der Rijst. “I’m happy, I love this neighbourhood.” Top Stories

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