Meet Your Candidates: Nine candidates vying for mayor’s seat in Victoria

Bike lanes, congestion, public consultation and more concerns voiced by candidates

Ten candidates are on the ballot for the City of Victoria mayor’s race but a last-minute withdrawal by Rob Duncan means nine candidates are vying for your vote. We asked each candidate how they would make the municipality a better place and to outline their top three key initiatives. Here are their responses.

Saul Andersen

1. Affordable housing/income inequality with an eye to zoning and bylaw reform.

2. Food security and clean water initiatives such as boulevard or schoolyard farming and rainwater collection.

3. A regional transportation strategy, including sensible cycling infrastructure and improved transit service/traffic flow.

I will make the city a better place by increasing transparency and improving communication. Too often, decisions come from the top down of an aloof City Hall; I would encourage more constituent assemblies to discuss important issues, as well as referenda that could be conducted through the City’s website. Policy must be driven by the people and communities directly affected. Running for office is a manifestation of my concerns for social justice and I want nothing more than to help leave things better than I found them.

Rob Duncan

Withdrew from the race on Oct. 10.

Michael Geoghegan

1. More affordable housing.

2. Free rec centre passes for kids 18 and under.

3. Replace annual with one-time business license.

By building more affordable housing we can ensure that Victoria remains a city where people of all ages and incomes can continue to live, work and play. I will lobby the province to build 3,000 to 5,000 units of students housing at UVic and Camosun. This will free up and equivalent number of rental accommodation in our area. As Seattle has proven once you get the vacancy rate to six per cent or higher rents stop skyrocketing and can even come down a bit.

Traffic into the downtown core is down and congestion is up. By synchronizing traffic lights and by relocating bike lanes to secondary roads we can ensure more efficient and less polluting movement of traffic. By building more parkades we can also get more shoppers downtown. I will also ensure a contractors parking pass program is implemented. I will also renovate rather than replace the Crystal Pool.

Stephen Hammond

I would make the City of Victoria a better place by restoring public trust at City Hall. If elected, you can trust that:

1. I will listen to everyone before making a decision. Take the bike lanes. I want to listen to the Victoria cycling coalition, but I won’t do it at the exclusion of everyone else, such as the businesses on Fort Street.

2. I will spend your money like it’s my own. Since 2012 the cost of living has gone up by 9.3 per cent while our taxes have gone up 22.4 per cent. There will be no more tax increases over the rate of inflation as I won’t be spending your money on expensive pet projects.

3. I will work tirelessly to create and support affordable housing. During the last seven years this city has become completely unaffordable. We will be asking builders to share the prosperity by giving community amenities.

Lisa Helps

1. Make Victoria affordable

Take broad, bold approach to affordability, including:

– 2,000 new affordable rental homes in the region starting at rents of $375.

– policy for affordable rental units in new condo buildings.

– larger garden suites and moveable tiny homes.

– free transit for children 18 and under.

– new affordable childcare spaces.

2. Improve transportation

– Reduce traffic congestion, lower commute times and reduce personal transportation costs by completing rapid transit lanes to the West Shore and back.

– Ensure 75 per cent of Victorians live within two minutes of a safe bike route.

– Expand car share and bring “floating car share” to Victoria.

3. Ensure well being and prosperity

– Ensure the city’s thriving economy is maintained and job growth continues.

– Share benefits of growth more widely by investing in “well-being” infrastructure and public spaces including Central, Songhees and Ship Point Parks, Centennial Square and more.

Ensure all policies create general well-being and happiness.

David Johnston

1. The adoption of austerity worship

2. Ending the addiction epidemic

3. Revitalization of the police force

By stopping the embarrassing delusion that it’s acceptable to pretend we’re rich when we have a $100,000,000 plus debt.

Bruce McGuigan

1. Genuine consultation

2. Transparent governance

3. Responsible development

We need a consultation process designed to include the views of Victorians, not one to impose the attitudes of nine members of council. Every neighbourhood in Victoria feels their input is solicited and then ignored.

Over 40 secret meetings of council indicates real problems in the process of governance. In camera meetings should be reserved for issues that present risk to the city, not used to create bodies that report at the sole discretion of the mayor.

We have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the City of Victoria. Other municipalities collect community amenity contributions from developers. Money that can be used for municipal assets like bridges, pools and housing. With good decision making on council, we can ensure appropriate development that doesn’t ruin neighbourhoods and still provides funds for city projects that benefit all Victorians.

Rymo (Ryan Moen)

Did not respond

Alexander Schmid

Did not respond

Krzysztof (Chris) Zmuda

I am running for mayor because I want to lead Victoria onto a new path of common sense actions. First, fix old problems: use a referendum of residents to choose whether to scrap the illegal pot shops and decide whether to keep the bike lanes; fix homelessness in the city by engaging federal and provincial funding for homeless shelters; challenge the cost of the Johnson Street bridge project.

Secondly, attack new problems: solve congestion in the city with more parking space, and the traffic snarl into the city with an express commuter bus system; just renovate Crystal Pool.

Third, fix City Hall: Freeze those big salaries and change the CRD directors; improve tenant rights by challenging landlords with a bylaw; make Victoria safe again with police presence on the streets; really promote Centennial Square as an attractive center for diverse culture in our city.

*Editor’s note: Bruce McGuigan’s response was not included in the list of candidates that appeared in the Oct. 12 edition of the Victoria News, as incorrect contact information was provided by Civic Info BC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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