Shelbourne needs fresh ideas
Re: Shelbourne plan needs better fix, July 2
There appears to be a misunderstanding of what I was suggesting when asked how to kick start the Valley enhancement.
My sense is that if we wait for development to come forward to get the needed right of way, we could wait a long time.
If we try and “buy” all the needed right of way, that could be expensive and might not have a positive outcome, or could actually tie up a needed sidewalk.
Yes, we could expropriate, but quite honestly that is time consuming and I don’t remember when the last time Saanich considered expropriation.
My idea was based on talking with property owners, especially commercial and apartment buildings, and seeing if there was a way to get the needed safety environments for walking and cycling sooner through different ideas.
One idea would be reciprocal access agreements. That would allow the commercial property owner to retain the density they are allowed today, without losing some through selling lands to Saanich.
You could look at sidewalks being moved over on the agreement lands and when that property owner came forward for redevelopment, there might be a way to negotiate around amenities at that time. But in the meantime, safe walking and cycling along Shelbourne Valley could start to happen sooner.
Is there some way to create incentives to see much-needed affordable housing happen sooner? There are many tools available to municipalities.
I’m worried that counting on redevelopment as the only way to capture right of way space or Saanich buying land for park space could take a very long time.
Victoria wanted to kickstart redevelopment of the upper space of heritage buildings, so they developed a program where the property owner could improve the upper space to make it liveable in return for a 10-year tax break on those improvements.
The City of Toronto has Neighborhood Improvement Areas defined with special opportunities to improve specific areas.
My goal is a creative and innovative conversation around how to move the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan forward without waiting for development to come forward or waiting over 30 years.
It was not about widening the road first, it was about addressing safety aspects around walking and cycling, phasing in parts of the plan, getting more neighbours talking with neighbours on the street and much more.
Councillor, District of Saanich
Reader needs clarity in Fletcher criticism
Re: Teachers can’t help recession, Tom, Letters, July 4
I don’t quite get the point of the writer. Does he believe that just because bad people caused the recession that we are therefore not responsible for practically dealing with the effects of it? Do we not all have to deal with the effects of a shrinking pot of money?
If the point is that teachers sailed through the recession with raises does this not factor into considerations about how much they should expect now?
I fully sympathize with the plight of teachers and have read many of their letters speaking of their frustration.
Ultimately this is a public debate about how we divide up the government revenue pie.
It really seems to boil down to the flood of special needs students that have entered our school system over the past decades and the resources needed to teach them.
I am in favor of more learning assistants in classes but not all the other perks that teachers are demanding.