In the City of Victoria, eight candidates are in the mayoral race with 37 candidates running for eight councillor positions. We asked each candidate to outline the most important thing council can do to improve the lives of residents. Here are their responses listed alphabetically.
Address affordability by creating additional beneficial housing policies so property development is diverse and comes with different living choices, creating social spaces where Victorians work together, nurture one another and build community. Increase Victorians’ well-being, comfort and safety with housing, financial and practice incentives for health professionals and their supporting wellness workers. Increase funding for civilian community crisis response teams, community policing, public realm cleaning and maintenance, bylaw services and support for residents’ efforts to improve their neighbourhoods. Embrace Victoria as a model for the evolution of towns to cities that grapple with urban challenges and manage change thoughtfully, kindly.
The most important thing the next mayor and council can do is rebuild trust with Victoria residents. For eight years, possibly longer, this council operated in a way that created division and distrust. The recent City of Victoria governance report showed more than 80 per cent of residents are unhappy with how this mayor and council operate. We have urgent issues that need to be addressed, which includes improved public safety and community wellness, homes for everyone and balanced governance. We cannot tackle these issues effectively if the electorate no longer trusts that we listen.
Lyall Atkinson is running to keep Stephen Andrew and Marianne Alto from returning to city hall. Stephen had the audacity to confront one of my supporters in this election and lied to us to get our votes in the byelection. My platform is to fix the problems caused by the last mayor and council. I’m born and raised in Victoria by a longstanding pioneering family. I want to run it like a business. Clean up Pandora Street, open up Beacon Hill Park, Government Street and Clover Point and Stadacona Park, and let the police and bylaws do their jobs.
Council should approve bylaws for creative, affordable housing. This could be in the form of tiny homes, RV’s and garden suites. The size of the property can dictate the number of these rentals allowed. Also, adjacent neighbours will be consulted.
Rentals can help the homeowner with mortgage and/or property taxes. The renter can be protected with below market rental rates that can be capped.
I believe that the above can provide immediate help to all aspects of housing while other projects can be built without any moves.
Lastly, council can review the success of creative and affordable housing after three to six months.
Victoria is a beautiful, prosperous, prestigious city. People are proud – perhaps a bit too proud. Look behind the beautiful facade, however, you will see injustice, cruelty, inequality. The homeless have their property thrown in the garbage and are tormented and deprived of sleep. They live in hell. The police should be targeting crack dealers and organized crime instead of being thugs for the chamber of commerce. It’s time to repeal laws criminalizing the poor, do the right thing and house the poor – protect them, not drive them into the arms of organized crime! Defund the police and organize “real” oversight of agencies that are supposed to work for the less fortunate, such as the young, elderly and infirm who are poor. www.stoptheoppression.com
Break out of its conventional Truman Show delusion and acknowledge the intrinsic relationship between the addiction epidemic and the condominium hell scape. That thousands upon thousands of lives have been destroyed to guard the housing market from tenable tent-cities, which are free of crack, crystal meth and heroin. That, until now, city hall and the chamber of commerce have purposely made the outside an ocean of anxiety.
Council can outright end the addiction epidemic, subsequently putting us in a position to face the rest of the challenges brought by blatant environmental and economic collapse.
The most important thing council can do to improve the lives of residents is to stick to the effective management of essential city services, strive for greater efficiency in everything including the development approval process, and stop trying to solve problems that are beyond the scope of a city council with Victoria taxpayers’ money.
1. Democratize city hall – mayor and councillors have local revolving constituencies, attend and be accountable for goings-on inclusively five years old and better.
2. Revenue generation for universal wages – privatize Victoria’s 70-plus religious and divisive NP institutions.
3. Expectations that requests for improvement be submitted to city’s administration building simply, comprehensively.
4. Build ‘pod’ villages, diverse, initially in downtown, evolves. Democracy pleases, locals housing firstly then understanding depths and breathers.
5. Build social site (i trilingual) truest representatively eh, reconciliation, democratic style with/of/for participation in of the creation of a MAPPING/game for us and our values visiting public.
6. Free from/of conflict language.
The most important thing that council can do is be accountable to its citizens. Have more transparent and democratic debate. For example, the homeless issue has many possible solutions. Let’s listen to public input along with the mental health experts and get serious about solving this with a community approach. It is increasing in severity by the day.
By reaching the very attainable goal of food security, all of us including lost souls can connect on this basic need and have a sense of purpose in contributing to create more community gardens and turning lawns into food gardens. If we facilitate building of tiny homes and co-operatives, we will increase affordable housing supply. While we wait for an LRT to expand mass transportation and ease congestion, let’s give people who are going through economic hardship a free bus pass or, even better, let them just show ID and not be questioned.
For council to improve the lives of residents, voters must give a clear mandate as to what they feel is needed.
For me, that mandate includes trust. Trust that council will do what’s best for the city. Trust that council will provide a safe city to thrive in for residents and businesses. Trust that council will not only be there for special interest groups and trust that the core services will be addressed, and that the city spends taxpayers’ money wisely.
A lot has been said about governance in Victoria over the last four years (and more) but what it comes down to is basics.
Basic principles like these listed in the governance review: Accountability, transparency, efficiency, inclusivity and impartiality.
I support the implementation of the recommendations contained in the governance review, and believe that if followed they will significantly improve city council’s relationship with citizens, staff and each other.
Did not respond.
The best thing council can do to improve the lives of residents is leverage its jurisdictional authorities to expedite the creation of new affordable housing and housing stock, revive the downtown core and restore a sense of safety and shared prosperity throughout the city. It can – and must – create a vibrant, liveable, low-carbon, secure community that is welcoming to seniors, students, young families and all the diverse people who call Victoria home.
Chris Coleman is running for Victoria council and CRD board. He prefers “good governance” to “great politics”. He has decades of experience internationally, nationally and locally, including:
- former six-term City of Victoria councillor;
- CRD board, Water Commission and Waste Diversion Council;
- Co-chair, local National Homelessness Initiative (SCPI);
- Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) board;
- Represented FCM in Ukraine (2016);
- International electoral observer, Mexican state election;
- 25 years on board of CFAX-Santas Anonymous;
-10 years on United Way Campaign cabinet;
- Two community association boards
Coleman will help Victoria navigate the complexities of governing well, for all its citizens.
Experienced official…responsible governor…community builder.
The most important thing the council can do is listen to residents and work to address their concerns. I’ve been door-knocking across the city and hear consistent themes: build more affordable housing, implement policies to reduce emissions, build safe/accessible/walkable communities and invest in parks and public amenities. I’m optimistic about Victoria’s future and want to bring a new approach in how we help run the city and the way we communicate with our constituents. As president of the South Jubilee Community Association since 2018, I value building consensus and listening to all perspectives on issues.
The single most important thing council can do to improve the lives of residents, given that 61 per cent of Victoria residents are renters, is work to persuade the provincial government to introduce vacancy control legislation. Vacancy controls put limits on rent increases on units when tenants move out. There are already controls on increases within a tenancy, but when tenants move out landlords are free to raise the rent as much as they want – as high as the market will bear. Vacancy controls limit these increases. As we have seen in Victoria, without vacancy controls, rent controls are ineffective.
1. Public safety for those in the community and for those that provide it. Our climate requires the improvement of traffic flow in the downtown core.
2. Thoughtfully-planned affordable housing for families and individuals in a safe community.
3. Ensuring the City of Victoria’s goals do not negatively impact youth and their educational and future opportunities, such as with Victoria High School field and track fiasco.
4. The reduction of property taxes by reducing city spending and cutting wasteful publicly-unapproved and necessary projects.
5. City event facilities – Victoria is falling behind every local city in the region in that regard.
Safety: Personal safety must become a priority. Everyone in Victoria needs to feel safe in their homes/businesses, and be equitably treated in public spaces, streets and parks.
Council must meet its core responsibilities of safety and protection. To achieve this, city services need our support. The “sheltering” bylaw needs to be altered to parallel bylaws of our neighbouring municipalities and the bylaw needs to be enforced.
The city needs to ensure the five pillars approach for those unable to care for themselves is used: Prevention, harm reduction, treatment/recovery, enforcement and housing.
Did not respond.
Safety. If people aren’t safe, or don’t feel safe, it’s tough to enjoy all this city has to offer. Victoria’s crime stats are well above Vancouver’s and the province’s numbers and I hear many people saying they don’t feel comfortable going downtown. There’s something wrong with that. This doesn’t necessarily mean more police, as so many issues surrounding safety involve social services, which are sadly lacking. I want to find inclusive solutions by involving residents, businesses, service agencies and police to solve these problems we face. I want to make Victoria Canada’s safest city.
Did not respond.
I believe it is important for residents to feel like their council is united, and that they will work well together despite their personal differences. It is only through respectful and honest dialogue that we can work together to take care of everyone’s needs. We need to balance making the city feel safe for all, while at the same time taking care of our most vulnerable. The residents of Victoria need to feel like someone is listening. We need a balanced council.
Expand fare-free public transit for everyone, starting with seniors, to cut carbon emissions, reduce congestion on local roads, and remove economic barriers to mobility. Communities around the world are implementing this model. The current city council introduced fare-free transit for people under age 19, an example the provincial government followed, eliminating fares across B.C. for people under 13. The next step is to invest $4 million of City of Victoria tax dollars in 2023 to provide annual transit passes for senior citizens. We also need major improvements in transit service levels, including bus rapid transit and frequent buses in all neighbourhoods.
Ultimately, the most important thing a city council can do to improve the lives of residents is to represent and work for its citizens diligently. Representing the voices of voters’ needs and concerns by addressing them with the upmost of responsibility, scrutiny and care. Public servants are supposed to do just that, serve the public.
If I was to pinpoint some particularly vital areas to ensure a robust, thriving city I would say: Access to affordable housing, utilizing compassionate means to transition our homeless population, lowering crime, easing of transport, supporting green initiatives and preserving ample green spaces.
Finding harmony and balance through well thought-out, well researched, measured pragmatic polices would make for a city where one could find joy!
The first thing must be the stopping of wasteful spending. Basic city functionality suffers when its leadership is spending time and taxpayers’ money on what can only be called pet projects, such as the recently added dog fencing on Dallas Road, not asked for by locals or dog owners, or the city hall free bike valet. That money is needed to fix bigger issues like public safety in parks and playgrounds, addressing the homelessness situation and increase of violent crime rates (74 per cent higher than the national average), and improving access to public spaces for seniors and those with disabilities.
Whilst being in the midst of a pandemic, I would argue that council can improve employer and employment opportunities by providing tax cuts to businesses and non-profits, so that employment programs can be funded that will bring in the social workers needed in Victoria such as nurses, mental health professionals and low-skilled labourers. Furthermore, I would argue that the council can initiate projects to promote return-to-work programs with businesses and non-profit organizations to help support some of our homeless population to get back into the workforce.
Address the housing crisis. On the doorstep, I hear most about housing, health care and the environment, which are all connected. Workers, including in health care, can’t find anywhere to live, impacting the local economy. Families are leaving, leading to environmentally-destructive sprawl. Renters are stuck in insufficient housing because they can’t afford to move, while others are being forced onto the street. Council can work with other levels of government to build hundreds of units of affordable housing, with a focus on non-market, public and co-op forms, approve the missing middle housing initiative with protection for renters, and advocate for vacancy control in between tenants.
Victoria residents will thrive when costs of living decrease. Scarcity of homes can be solved by building more housing. Building three-bedroom units, plexes and townhomes for families will ease the housing crisis.
Creating walkable, bikeable villages close to residences is a way to lower costs by reducing the need to drive. Urban villages with local grocers, clinics and shops can meet residents’ needs within a walkable radius.
Ensuring our city is safe and accessible for children, seniors and those with disabilities is another priority. Creating more designated handicap parking spaces will improve the lives of residents in our community.
Our downtown businesses and residents need to be supported with action to their concerns. Crime, theft and drug use are getting out of control with these perpetrators. Council needs to figure out what is causing the attraction to the community and reverse it. Council also needs to properly fund our police force.
To create a city that cares, we need better engagement and more collaboration within our community to reduce division and productively work together.
Council can’t solve big issues like housing affordability, addiction, and mental health challenges on their own. And infrastructure needs, such as safe roads, efficient public transit, and quality recreational facilities, also require funding from upper levels of government or regional support. Council must demonstrate strong leadership in advocating for our city regarding all of these matters.
This will ultimately improve the lives of residents and result in healthy, vibrant neighbourhoods for all.
Council can make our roadways, parks and downtown core more accessible and commuter-friendly. Secondary commuter routes such as Government, Vancouver, Haultain, and Richardson streets should be fully re-opened to traffic, which would ease gridlock on primary commuter routes.
Beacon Hill Park and Clover Point should be open to drivers, with a view to greater accessibility for seniors and people with disabilities. Downtown should be a vibrant and attractive setting for shopping and community events. Council can help make this a reality by reducing taxes and business licensing fees, and permitting free parking on weekends.
Did not respond.
Restoring good governance to Victoria.
The challenges facing our city are many: Policing, fire, bylaw services, the traffic mess, homelessness, the housing crisis, densification, reconciliation, aging infrastructure, future pandemic responses, health care, climate change, etc.
I am an independent candidate with extensive and varied governance experience and collaborative decision-making skills, and am a life-long resident of Victoria. I build consensus and have the capacity to listen to and consider all viewpoints.
Time to restore public trust, end the politics of division, end flavour-of-the-day decision-making, consider decision consequences and manage down risks and stay within our lane of responsibility. Vote. Steveorcherton.ca
The council and mayor can get out of the way of businesses and residents. They need to respect the fact that most Victorians did not sign up for or agree with the agenda of the past eight years. Not every Victorian commutes on bikes or can have their business survive a growing homeless epidemic and road closures. We have built a Victoria that only caters to a certain ideology and no longer represents the interests of the elderly, young families or business owners. If I am accompanied by like-minded councillors, I will re-open our streets, empower police and bylaw to end encampments and work with developers to significantly increase housing supply in Victoria.
Public spaces are for all to enjoy. Never should they be for the exclusive use of a few people. Especially important are green spaces – the maintenance of lush, treed ecosystems should be available in every neighbourhood for the benefit of all demographics.
Khadoni Pitt Chambers
The most important thing that a council can do is to be engaged and involved within the city, and leave ego and bias at the door of city hall. We need to communicate with different groups outside of council chambers, attend as many public events as possible across the city and make time to engage with the community. It is impossible to understand the needs of constituents from an ivory tower.
A council that is both engaged with the public, and has a finger on the pulse of the city will be more informed on our city’s needs.
The most important thing council can do is address the less than one per cent rental vacancy rate. Renters fear being renovicted and priced out of Victoria. The solution is a city council that is willing to take action. We need more purpose-built family rental developments that offer three and four-bedroom options. We need to incentivize more people to become landlords. We can do this by reducing the red tape to fast-track more secondary and garden suites. We can also offer landlords a reduction in property taxes in proportion to keeping rent affordable. These actions are practical, realistic and good for renters.
William Warden Scott
The three pillars of my platform work together to present my vision of how the lives of our residents could be improved.
Livability in Victoria in this climate crisis is dependent upon protecting and enhancing our natural ecosystems, including the vital tree canopy. Residents care deeply about this and many other issues, but often their voices are not being heard by our council.
Over-densification is not a panacea. Such gentrification results in the loss of affordable rentals, neighbourhood uniqueness and green space. It also places immediate stress upon city services and health care, exacerbating our crime and mental health problems.
For the last eight years, council has not been accountable to the people of Victoria. It has pursued its own agendas and pet projects and neglected core areas of responsibility, like ensuring accessibility and public safety.
As assistant fire chief for the Victoria Fire Department, I saw first hand how recent councils have behaved. As an elected city councillor, I will make sure we have more accessible city streets and parks, and that the city provides more support for small businesses, police and bylaw enforcement to ensure Victoria’s downtown is safe and welcoming for all residents and visitors.
I believe the most important thing council can do to improve the lives of residents is to represent them through good governance. By governance, I mean how we make decisions. We need to be clear on what it is we are deciding, who should be deciding and how it is prioritized.
We need to stay in our lane and make evidence-based decisions with community involvement. Governance is at the heart of all we do.
Affordable housing. We need to address our fundamental and basic needs. Everything is correlated with this. No housing equals no community, no workers and no tourism. This affects homeowners and renters; without affordable housing, we will continue to lose the people who not only allow Victoria to work as a functioning, vibrant city, but the ones who make it thrive. We can achieve this by exploring the missing middle housing initiative further to ensure it equals affordable housing. Make it difficult for non-residents to occupy housing by banning short/long-term vacation rentals and ensuring new rentals are “principal residence” only. Push for vacancy control to limit rent hikes between tenancies.
Did not respond.
Council can make housing more available and affordable for everyone by streamlining approvals for suites, house conversions and new buildings. This will provide more housing sooner, helping residents find homes and reduce their cost of living. It will help employers retain workers, many of whom are now being priced out of Victoria. It will reduce long-distance regional commuting – easing traffic congestion, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping clean the air we breathe. It will help reduce the amount of deforestation and clear-cutting that occurs due to suburban sprawl. davethompsonvictoria.ca
Focus on good governance as a foundation for moving forward. Good governance demonstrates accountability, leadership, integrity, stewardship and transparency.
It means focusing on the things that are within the city’s jurisdiction and putting residents and local businesses first. It is critical to creating a Victoria that works and works well.
Council needs to have a long-term vision for the city, and to lead the city in bringing that vision to life. We cannot be planning in four-year increments. The key issues facing Victoria are not four-year issues. Climate change, the housing crisis, homelessness – all these things need a council with the vision to think beyond their term and plan for the future of our city.
Advance voting starts on Oct. 5 with general election day on Oct. 15. For more information on how or where to vote, check out your municipality’s website. You can find election night results, and more coverage in the lead-up, under the election tab at vicnews.com.
READ MORE: 2022 Election Coverage
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