Meet Your Candidates: Learn more about the Esquimalt council candidates

We asked candidates what changes they would make in the municipality

In Esquimalt, 10 candidates are vying for six spots on council while incumbent Barb Desjardins is challenged in the race for mayor by John Roe. We asked each candidate how they would make the municipality a better place and to outline their top three key initiatives.

Mayor:

Barb Desjardins

1. Promote affordability through managed growth and family-friendly development.

2. Proactively manage the Economic Development Strategy in order to achieve its full potential, providing greater diversity of services to residents, opportunities for businesses, and overall taxation management.

3. Ensure timely completion of the amenity funding process, with best possible use of the $17 million funds for public safety, waterfront parks and recreation facilities. These funds negotiated with CRD have completed the public consultation process over the past nine months and now decisions on these funds, and investment of these funds must occur within approximately five years. I do not want to leave any funds on the table for return to CRD.

Esquimalt is a well-managed municipality with ongoing attention to maintenance of infrastructure and assets. The work done on our infrastructure to reduce costs and improve environmental benefit will continue with Esquimalt providing regional leadership on several fronts.

John Roe

1. Spend the McLoughlin Amenity Funds fixing our aged, leaky, polluting storm sewers and drains.

2. Reclaim our public access points along our waterfront for local enjoyment.

3. Protect our low-income rental housing from over development and speculation.

Councillor:

Ken Armour

My three-point plan (kenarmour.ca) will maximize Esquimalt’s potential and improve the lives of residents.

1. Grow Esquimalt’s business community by hiring an economic development officer to work with the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce to attract, grow and retain businesses and to implement Esquimalt’s Economic Development Strategy.

2. Encourage smart development by hiring a facilitator to bring together a developer and community members so residents can provide input to development proposals early and often, and so proposals can be shaped on an iterative basis.

3. Make Esquimalt the arts capital of Vancouver Island by building on the wonderful events we already have, and by launching a marketing and branding campaign.

Esquimalt is a wonderful place. I will work to make Esquimalt even better by implementing my three-point plan. I will do this by drawing on my 25 years of successfully developing and implementing economic and social policies and programs in provincial and federal governments.

Meagan Brame

1. Economic development – encouraging broader growth of commercial space and diverse business, so Esquimalt is a place you can live, work, play and shop.

2. Good governance – which includes being a councillor who remains open-minded, respectful and will listen to all sides of an issue. Working with my fellow councillors to make decisions that are thoughtful, clear and forward thinking.

3. Creating a strategic plan that includes all sectors of our community: families, seniors, students, and business.

Esquimalt is already a great place, but to keep the momentum going we need to continue with design guidelines for other areas of our community. Making sure that the vision for what Esquimalt wants to look like moving forward is captured. It will be a balancing act of thoughts and feelings but a compromise will be key to making sure Esquimalt is positioned well for the future.

Veronica Greer

Did not respond

Jacob Helliwell

1. Affordable, diverse housing.

2. A strong, engaged community.

3. Accessible, connected neighbourhoods.

I’m running for council because I want to ensure that Esquimalt is responsive to the needs and interests of its residents, and continues to be an attractive and affordable place to live.

I am committed to long-term planning that represents our shared vision for the community. I support pursuing growth that is informed by our community’s vision, sustainability, and the types of economic and community activities that we desire in the future. It is important that we increase and diversify Esquimalt’s housing supply and commercial spaces, while also maintaining the existing community feel.

As Esquimalt grows, it is important that the Township continues to foster our strong, engaged community through supporting our community groups, advocating for local businesses, and ensuring supporting infrastructure and amenities are in place, today and in the future.

Andrew Hrushowy

Did not respond

Lynda Hundleby

1. Maintain good governance including financial oversight with strong policies and bylaws

2. Continue to stimulate economic development through new and renovated/revitalized housing and commercial spaces; work with Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce, and others; also consider a position for an economic development officer

3. Sort out transportation issues considering pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, vehicular traffic, and potential for rail

Making Esquimalt a better place:

· Creating a mix of diverse housing that would assist all residents to live and thrive in Esquimalt

· Helping Esquimalt residents make community and neighbourhood connections through the creation of more informal gathering spaces around town and in parks, and the expansion of social and cultural activities, organized or informal, including such things as Block Watch, Block parties, Family activities/events, etc.

· Encouraging additional shopping and entertainment opportunities for residents who wish to spend their time and money locally

Tim Morrison

1. Affordability and availability of quality housing.

2. Property tax relief through careful budgeting, long-term financial planning and respecting taxpayers in all decision-making.

3. Community improvement through ongoing economic revitalization and infrastructure investments.

As a two-term councillor, my focus has been on overall community improvement. I envision a better Esquimalt Road that will be aligned with our new Esquimalt Town Square. Esquimalt Road should become the showcase pride of our community with the right combination of streetscape charm, pleasing aesthetics, attractive housing and a healthier diversity of new, quality businesses including shops, cafes, restaurants and medical offices, so that our residents have local access to everything they need within walkable distance. We must also invest in our livability with safer streets and traffic solutions, addressing climate change, enhanced Parks and Recreation and support for community events/celebrations that brand Esquimalt as the place to be. Learn more at TimMorrison.ca.

Chris Munkacsi

Regionalization versus amalgamation – I believe in maximizing shared services through the CRD and keeping our community voice in Esquimalt.

Density – I believe in having many tools in the toolbox for developing growth in our community. I support medium density Jane Jacobs-style buildings with retail, arts or community meeting spaces on the first floor and residential with family size spaces in the mix above. I also support infill, garden suites and inlaw suites in accordance with the regional growth plan, the official community plan and community input about the direction that they would like to see Esquimalt grow.

Affordability – As a single parent, I want to see our community continue the path that has been set out by the present council. Family affordability has been a very important direction for the present council. I want to continue that direction and continue to keep Esquimalt one of the more affordable community and to raise a family. I am also aware that there are a number of people who live in Esquimalt on a fixed income. I want to continue to keep our community affordable.

I have lived in Esquimalt for a decade and believe Esquimalt is already a great place to live, work, shop and raise a family. One aspect I would improve is to work to return Gorge Park back to the way it was in the 1920s. I would like to see sand returned to the beach at Gorge Park, similar to Willows Beach, and I would like to see the reconstruction of a Japanese Tearoom in the Japanese garden at Gorge Park. I think that this could increase the tourism draw of Gorge Park that it had historically been. It is already and draw and a jewel in the community. I want to restore it to its potential.

Stephane Vaudandaine

1. Give residents a voice in community development.

2. Limit buildings to six storeys as the community has been requesting during the official community plan process.

3. Prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety.

Truly take into consideration the point of view and opinions of community members.

As part of pedestrian and cyclist safety, reduce traffic speed for motorized vehicles on main roads such as Esquimalt and Admirals that are roads that many children use to get to and from school.

Work with developers to ensure that newer housing development will include affordable options.

Jane Vermeulen

1. Diverse and affordable housing – the demographics of Esquimalt are changing and we need housing to meet the needs of young families, military members, seniors and renters. People are starting to discover that Esquimalt is a beautiful place to live – close to downtown, oceans, parks and major employers.

2. Family-friendly – when I moved to Esquimalt thirteen years ago, I was a single, professional woman. Now, I am married to a Navy officer, the mother of two young children and still working. I have seen the progression in Esquimalt to address the needs of young families. We have improved parks (particularly our water park), more kids activities and our recreation centre is one of the best on the island. I would like to be the voice to represent young (and military) families of Esquimalt.

3. Retail and small business – residents want to be able to “play, shop and dine” in Esquimalt and we need to create an environment that will support small businesses and retailers.

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