The City of Victoria unveiled its draft Strategic Plan for 2019-2022 (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

City of Victoria releases ambitious draft Strategic Plan

The plan includes 180 actions focused on environment, transportation and more

Ahead of the new year the City of Victoria has outlined its own resolutions in the draft Strategic Plan for the next four years, and in the draft Financial Plan for 2019.

Among the eight objectives for 2019-2022, the draft includes affordable housing, reconciliation and Indigenous relations, health and well-being, environmental and climate leadership, transportation and livable neighbourhoods.

Those objectives add up to nearly 180 actions, at least 62 of which are slated for 2019.

Reconciliation

For reconciliation and Indigenous relations, council will create and begin a mandatory training program for council and city staff, engage in reconciliation dialogues and find “appropriate context” for the Sir John A. MacDonald statue. Ongoing actions may include working with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations to complete the Longhouse in Beacon Hill Park, establish a reburial site and support the restoration of Indigenous place names.

READ MORE: Sir John A. MacDonald statue cost $23,000 to remove

Housing

Next year could see the creation of rental-only zoning, tiny homes legally renting backyard space for up to $500 a month, and a definition of what is affordable housing in Victoria. The city will also look at the property it owns in search of possible locations for more emergency shelter spaces and affordable housing sites.

Health, well-being and a welcoming city

City staff have been working with task forces to create strategies for a Trans Inclusion Policy and an Accessibility Framework. Two more task forces will be formed to address a Seniors Strategy and a Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.

The city will also adopt accessible parking standards for on and off-street parking.

READ MORE: Only half of Victoria’s accessible parking meets basic standards: report

Environmental and Climate Leadership

The city wants to strengthen the Tree Protection Bylaw and create an Urban Forest Masterplan. Over the next four years, all of the garden beds — aside from the hanging baskets and Beacon Hill Park — will be re-naturalized. The city will also encourage private developments to use food-bearing plants and native species.

It would also ban plastic straws — while considering the needs of people who require them — in 2019, followed by single-use coffee cups and takeout containers in 2020.

READ MORE: Victoria mother concerned by city’s potential straw ban

Other initiatives include Mayor Lisa Helps considering amalgamating police services for the region, and cleaning up the harbour and steward waterways after Victoria’s Inner Harbour was named the most polluted waterway in B.C.

Sustainable Transportation

The City wants to offer free transit to youth 18 and under, and has considered adding Sunday parking fees to cover this cost. Council also wants to advocate for late night bus service, and subsidized bus passes for low-income seniors.

Council also wants to advocate for a commuter rail and inter-city rail system along the E&N railway system “‘without delay.”

Speed limits on local neighbourhood streets may drop to 30 km/h, and more ridesharing or “floating car” services may come to town.

Strong, Liveable Neighbourhoods

City council wants to open up Government Street to pedestrians, and review the city noise bylaw.

Council also wants to work with the Greater Victoria Public Library to provide library services in the north end of the city, with the possibility of a new branch.

READ MORE: Victoria looks to replace Central Library branch

The City will also finalize its Ship Point Plan and funding strategy, and further develop an emergency preparedness and seismic upgrade program.

The public can give feedback on the Draft Strategic Plan at the Strategic Plan Engagement Summit on Jan. 19, 2019 between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The event will take place at the Victoria Conference Centre, and anyone interested can register to attend at victoria.ca.

People can also take an online survey about the draft Strategic Plan and draft Financial Plan at victoria.ca until Sunday, Jan. 20.

READ MORE: Victoria council proposes five affordable housing strategies


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

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