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Transportation and Land Use

I’ve spent a lot of time sharing information and listening to what people have to say about transportation and land use in our area. I understand the importance of having a regional transportation network that not only moves goods and services efficiently, but also connects people and places.

I’ve chaired transportation committees for the City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, and I’m the current president of Bike to Work Week Victoria. Light Rapid Transit has been the focus of recent media attention, but over 10 years involvement in this debate as past President of Island Tranformations.Org shows my commitment to finding sustainable solutions to address  traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

We have an opportunity to provide a clean, efficient transportation system that will have enormous benefits for our community. Saanich needs a holistic approach to transportation planning and land use —one that includes light rail transit and consultation with landowners on a long-term plan for the Douglas corridor. A transit authority would only have a narrow mandate to provide public transportation options. Instead, let’s create a transportation authority for Metro Victoria with the power to centralize revenue and investments.  Let’s do it!

 

Maintaining and Enhancing the Unique Character of our Neighbourhoods

The friendliness, diversity, safety and serenity of Saanich is what makes our municipality great. The vibrancy of our neighbourhoods leads to the type of connections between people that have wowed me since I moved to Saanich nearly 25 years ago. As president of the Gorge Tillicum Community Association, I have enjoyed organizing the annual Gorge Canada Day Picnic—the largest attended celebration in Saanich, and a fantastic display of the richness of our community. Unfortunately, lack of sidewalks and speeding traffic on side-streets  makes it difficult to enjoy our neighbourhoods safely. I propose we reduce the speed limit to 30km on side-streets, and  increase the balance between vehicle lanes and sidewalks—especially on Tillicum Road.

 

Affordable and Accessible Housing

Almost all candidates for Saanich council agree affordable housing should be a priority, but none of them are discussing accessible housing. 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?” Where appropriate and with consultation, we need to consider allowing secondary suites of all types—including garden suites.

 

Preserving Green Space 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. Sadly the CRD has pulled back support for important projects such as the Gorge Waterway Initiative, which works to protect watersheds and enhance the natural and cultural features of our waterways. I support the revitalization of this initiative, and I am currently working with Saanich Parks on improving the ecological and recreational uses of other areas such as the Gorge, Colquitz River and Cuthbert Holmes Parks.

 

Sustainability

Sustainability is a process with social and economic dimensions. Sustainable development must integrate environmental, social and economic considerations into the decision making processes. Some recent and proposed major developments in Saanich, such as the Uptown Shopping Centre, have failed to take these considerations into account. I believe that as a community we need to move to a sustainable agenda. I am an economist so I want 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.

 

Public Engagement and Accountability of Local Government

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 influence decisions made by council. I plan to share this knowledge with all community associations in Saanich. As a Saanich councillor I will encourage staff to be open, transparent and informative when asked questions related to governance and municipal process. I support the creation of a municipal auditor-general’s office. Council and the public may not always agree, but engaging the public starts with treating them as partners, not opponents.