Transportation and Land Use
I’ve spent a lot of time listening to what people have to say about transportation and land use. As Saanich is the transportation network hub for Metro Victoria, I understand the importance of having regional transportation planning that not only moves goods and services efficiently, but also connects people and places. We have an opportunity to provide a clean, efficient transportation system that will have enormous benefits for our community.
As a member of the advisory committees for both the Uptown/Douglas Corridor and Active Transportation plans, I have been encouraging strong emphasis to connect current land use planning to the future transportation technologies.
For over 25 years I have been supporting Light Rail Transit to connect our communities and drive more compact land use. Today I still see LRT as a part of a transportation network, however, with clear technological changes such as electric and autonomous vehicles just around the corner much more needs to be done.
For example, parking congestion in Saanich neighbourhoods is reaching critical mass and we do not have any clear concepts about how to resolve conflicts.
My experience as chair of the transportation committees for the City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, my work on direct transportation issues in neighbourhoods and the cycling community give me the foundation to work on these issues for Saanich and the region.
Maintaining and Enhancing the Unique Character of our Neighbourhoods
The friendliness and diversity of Saanich is what makes our municipality great. The vibrancy of our neighbourhoods leads to the type of connections between people that have attracted me since I moved to Saanich nearly 30 years ago. Unfortunately, lack of sidewalks and speeding traffic on side-streets makes it difficult to enjoy our neighbourhoods safely.
Holding community celebrations has proven to be a key method for building communities and I have been part of the organizing committee for the annual Gorge Canada Day Picnic—the largest attended celebration in Saanich and a fantastic display of the richness of our community, since its inception.
The connections between Saanich neigbourhoods, Council and our professional staff must be improved. We are all partners in the business of building our communities and neighbourhood associations should be empowered to provide leadership.
Affordable and Accessible Housing
I believe affordable housing should be a priority. Those who need affordable housing benefit when it is built close to transit routes, close to major services, and designed to meet the unique needs of seniors and the disabled. Taking these needs into account is what affordable and accessible housing means to me.
Another concern related to housing is, “How do we increase density without negatively impacting the historical value of our neighbourhoods?” Saanich has moved to allow some secondary suites but there are many other options such as granny flats to be considered.
Special housing needs for our vulnerable population is lacking. While there are some agencies providing for specific special needs, there are significant gaps as can be seen by the number of campers living in our parks and natural areas.
Protecting Our Environment and Agricultural Land
The urban containment boundary is the single most important piece of land use legislation that has helped us protect agricultural land in Saanich. I support maintaining this boundary while looking for more ways to encourage the growing of local produce.
Sewage treatment has been a major issues for the region, but sadly we have been neglecting the other elephant in the room – storm water management. Saanich leadership is required at the regional level to set the standards to bring all our storm water management to the highest level of watershed protection.
Saanich has been working to be a leader in environmental stewardship. Over the past 3 years a debate has risen that has us examining all of the impacts and unintended consequences of decisions that are made without the full consensus of our community.
Sustainable Saanich – my commitment to budget & tax management
Sustainability is a process with social and economic dimensions. Sustainable development must integrate environmental, social and economic considerations into the decision making processes.
I am an economist so I strive to create financial and social wealth for our community without negatively impacting the environment. Businesses are very much a part of the local community and have a very significant role to play. For example, by approaching new development using “Smart Growth” principles, external costs related to health and environment are reduced. As an economist I understand this process very clearly and believe I can give real leadership in building a sustainable community.
Fiscal sustainability can only be achieved by either cutting costs or increasing revenue. Saanich must take a hard look at cutting costs without impacting services. More importantly, Saanich must develop a comprehensive business plan to increase revenues without relying on increasing property taxes
Public Engagement and Accountability
Part of holding government accountable is ensuring we have strong, well-informed community associations. This is why I support the Saanich Community Association Network (SCAN). As president of the Gorge Tillicum Community Association, I have learned how to work with council and help them make better decisions that impact us.
I believe Saanich needs a new governance mandate and we need to bring together experienced leaders in the community like myself who will continue to advocate for strengthening relationships with Council. The Governance review process must be allowed to fulfill its mandate and all of their recommendations should be given serious consideration.
Council and the public may not always agree, but engaging the public starts with treating them as partners, not adversaries. It is only through such relationships that transparency and trust can be achieved