Lisa Helps - mayoral candidate

Election 2014: Mayoral candidate Lisa Helps

City of Victoria: Helps, Lisa -- mayoral candidate

  • Nov. 6, 2014 4:00 p.m.

Bio

Lisa has lived in Victoria for almost two decades. She has a background of community economic development, innovation in small business ventures, and social and environmental justice. Through working on her PhD on homelessness and housing in Victoria, she was drawn into the city’s non-profit sector which quickly began to take most of her time and dedication. She worked in Fernwood to revitalize the Cornerstone building and she founded Community Micro-Lending – Canada’s first peer-to-peer micro lending program.

Lisa ran for office as a councillor in 2011. Despite being a first-time councillor, she was elected with a wide margin and a large support base. As a councillor, she has worked tirelessly to promote accountability and transparency. She voted against the Johnson Street Bridge, initiated a responsible multi-year budget, engaged citizens on determining what city budgeting priorities should be, and promoted a more open and inclusive municipal government.

Lisa is known for having a big heart, a wealth of experience and a history of getting things done. She works with others and is open, honest and inclusive.

 

Lisa’s plan as mayor:

Once elected, my first priority will be to transform city hall into a place that works hard and works for everyone. City hall needs to be an adaptive and proactive organization. The people who work at city hall are hard-working and intelligent, but I believe they are constrained by a system that crushes creativity and promotes a static environment. Out new city manager is making good progress with his “one city” approach. But still I hear from countless business owners how frustrating it is to work with the city, to get permits, start a business or hear back from an application. In the time it takes the city to process a permit, the prospective business can easily go under. Fixing city hall means reducing red tape and increasing common sense. It means reorganizing how things are done and breaking down barriers between silos, and it means working together as a system towards a common goal.

At the same time, city hall must be a place that is accountable to the taxpayers and open to new ideas. We have started down the road of civic engagement, but there is so much more to be done. I intend to increase the levels of public participation in the city’s budgeting process. I’d also like to use the city’s the ‘Have your Say Victoria’ web platform to ask weekly for your input on decisions we’re making at the council table. And I’d like to create public policy that is informed by public participation. As an organization with just over a $200-million budget, we need to live within our means. And I know you have good ideas to help us do this. I will include full lifecycle and operating costs for all new infrastructure projects, manage the Johnson Street Bridge tightly until completion, and incorporate best practices and promote sustainable infrastructure wherever possible while ensuring costs stay low and the job gets done.

I will also turn my attention towards revitalizing the downtown core, reducing retail and commercial vacancies, and growing a sustainable local economy. I will create a positive context for job creation by ensuring that city hall will become a place of partnership for new businesses, rather than an obstacle. I want to focus on the harbour, and create an economic development office tasked with implementing innovative strategies to attract new businesses to Victoria.

Finally, we need to work better with our neighbours, particularly on decisions around our regional economy and overlapping infrastructure. To facilitate collaboration and partnership I will create a mayor’s caucus to bring together all the leaders of the surrounding municipalities to work on issues together and ensure common prosperity.

I would like to bring Victoria into the 21st century by improving our active transportation networks, nurturing our creative city and building walkable, liveable neighbourhoods.

 

Website www.lisahelpsvictoria.ca

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