Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Mayor’s message: How to resolve the divide between Victorians

Last month I wrote about a divide between folks who want Victoria to move into the 21st century and others who want to preserve Victoria

Last month I wrote about a divide between folks who want Victoria to move into the 21st century and others who want to preserve Victoria as it has been, between those who see Victoria as a small town and want to keep it that way and those who want Victoria to come into its own as a big city, but not one like Vancouver where you can no longer see the sky.

We can resolve these tensions in three ways.

First we need to take the fears and worries of the preservationists seriously. Hidden in fear of change is a strong passion for the greatness of the past. It’s because of the passion of those who stood strong in the 1960s and 1970s that Old Town is one of the most intact heritage districts in the country and that Victoria has leading edge heritage preservation and restoration programs.

These voices must not be dismissed as stifling change. They must be lauded for preserving what makes Victoria Victoria. When we hosted 25 investors from across North America for “A Capital Mission” last spring, our guests remarked on Old Town and Chinatown as elements of what made downtown pleasing to walk through and investment worthy.

Second, council’s strategic plan goal says we must embrace the future and build on the past. There are many examples of how we’re working towards this. Here are two.

The tech sector is helping to drive reinvestment and redevelopment downtown. There are a myriad of tech companies operating in refurbished heritage and other older buildings. Leading edge, 21st century technological innovation is being developed in 19th and 20th century buildings.

Past, present and future, Victoria is a human scale city; this is something most Victorians cherish no matter which side of the so-called divide they find themselves on. Victoria was built around a streetcar network that linked village centres to each other and to the downtown core. Built on the streetcar network of the past, is 21st century infrastructure like Biketoria — an all ages and abilities cycling network that will connect village centres with each other and with the downtown.

Third, we need to focus efforts as a community on connection and belonging. This week, Victoria Foundation released its annual Vital Signs report with a feature article, “What does it mean to belong?” The answer: feeling like an accepted, contributing part of a well-functioning whole.

The ‘whole’ is sometimes our own street, our child’s school community, or even the city. In 2015, as a community we got a B in Belonging and Engagement. This year we got a B-. A focus on fostering connections and belonging will allow us to see that even as we struggle over competing visions for Victoria’s future, there is more than connects us with each other than divides us. And that it’s those connections that matter.

Sound fluffy? Be sure to read the November edition of this column to learn more about how connection, belonging and inclusion can be a matter of life or death.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Look for the Random Act of Kindness Day colouring contest in Black Press issues Jan. 17. Physical entries can be mailed or dropped off to local Black Press offices. A scanned or photographed entry can be emailed to info@victoriafoundation.bc.ca. Winning entries can get a $50 gift card to Bolen Books and a $100 donation to a charity of their choice from the VIctoria Foundation. (Pixabay)
Colouring contest coming for Kindness Day

Kindness Day colouring contest in partnership with Victoria Foundation

Sidney has moved the remaining parts of its public consultation phase part of the Official Community Plan online. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney moves to an ‘all online engagement’ process for OCP

Staff says OCP charrette scheduled for mid-February

(File photo)
‘Very lucky’: Two passengers, dog escape rollover crash in Saanich unscathed

Vehicle flips on Trans Canada Highway after hitting median, possibly due to ice, firefighter says

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read