First Victoria mayoral candidate declares

With the federal election barely over, the first candidate has declared himself for the mayoral race in Victoria.

Paul Brown ran an unsuccessful campaign for city councillor in the Nov. 20 by-election.

His ambitions to have another kick at the can became apparent in February, when he issued a press releases critical of city council.

He has taken aim at the city budget: both at spending “spiraling out of control” and a lack of transparency in the process.

On Wednesday, he announced his candidacy for mayor. He also launched a door-knocking campaign that continues through the week.

“The city is forecasting an increase of 23 per cent over the next five years in terms of taxes,” said Brown. “We look at a lot of things that are not factored into the budget and think that 23 per cent is a real low-ball figure,” he added, naming the possibilities of Esquimalt leaving the policing agreement with Victoria and of cost overruns building a new Johnson Street Bridge.

“We need stronger leadership on council with regard to making certain that budgets are realistic,” he said, adding the city needs a results-based budgeting process.

The health of the downtown is another concern.

“We’re seeing business relocate outside the downtown core,” he said.

He called for more lenient requirements for developers to attract more affordable family housing. He also envisions one major civic centre incorporating a new library, art gallery and pool – to replace those three facilities which all require upgrading. “We probably don’t have the money to do each one of these individually,” he reasoned.

Brown has lived in Victoria for 22 years, and is a partner is a consulting firm providing advice on governance issues.

Mayor Dean Fortin was unavailable for comment.