Ben’s priorities for a fair, safe and green Victoria
I am committed to working with people like you, my colleagues on council, and city staff to build long-lasting and cost-effective solutions for our neighbourhoods, city and region. Please share your ideas as we move forward to implement the following policies:
A Fair City
- Open a year-round, revenue-neutral public market downtown, to support local producers, artisans and vendors while creating a vibrant community space for residents and visitors.
- Expand affordable housing supply, allocating seed capital for social housing from a new CRD Housing Levy, while working with residents and local builders to expand the supply of safe, affordable secondary suites and neighbourhood-appropriate multi-unit buildings. Read my report Housing for All
- Implement a municipal Living Wage Guideline for all city-contracted work (as has been done in New Westminster, a BC city similar in size to Victoria), setting an example to business that will improve living conditions for workers while injecting consumer dollars into our local economy.
- Introduce a city-sponsored Buy Local campaign, encouraging residents and tourists to spend hard-earned dollars on sustainable and responsible local enterprise (rather than big-box retailers and large chain stores), keeping resources in our downtown, our village centres and our community markets.
- Appoint a City Ombudsperson to work with residents, businesses and city staff to resolve disputes relating to Building Inspections, Business Licensing and other city operations, a service similar to that offered in other Canadian cities.
- Keep city operations public, cost-effective and open. Explore opportunities to reduce costs by “contracting-in” services such as recycling, organics collection, road and sewer construction, and arbourist services.
A Safe City
- Work with local agencies including VIHA, AIDS Vancouver Island and Solid to open a safe-consumption site downtown, like Vancouver’s InSite, improving the health of people managing addictions while reducing petty crime and keeping hypodermic needles out of our parks, alleyways and playgrounds.
- Complete a review of the Police Budget and police operations, respecting collective agreements while ensuring that finite tax dollars go toward crime prevention rather than responding to non-threatening behaviour by youth and low-income people.
- Introduce a Community Violence Prevention Program, partnering with women’s organizations, School District 61, the Victoria Police Department, the Rock Solid Foundation and the BC Ministry of Attorney General to break the cycle of violence among youth and adults in Victoria, with specific initiatives aimed at sexual violence, bullying and violence against women and children.
A Green City
- Expand pedestrian and cycling greenways in our beautiful neighbourhoods and around the Upper Harbour, introducing traffic calming and opportunities for urban agriculture, with potential significant savings in the Street Construction budget. Take action to implement the City’s Greenways Plan.
- Support public mass transit, with more frequent bus service (including late-night buses) and a new Johnson Street Bridge that is capable of accommodating a commuter rail link to the downtown along the existing E&N corridor.
- Maintain public water and sewage services, in partnership with neighbouring municipalities and senior governments. Avoid costly public-private partnerships that remove public control and oversight of essential services.
- Advocate for a moratorium on increased cruise ship, floatplane and helicopter traffic in the vicinity of Victoria Harbour, as well as marina expansion, reducing noise pollution, emissions, and harm to residents and the marine environment.
- Encourage neighbourhood-appropriate development, protecting the character of Victoria’s Old Town, the waterfront and our diverse neighbourhoods. Update and implement our neighbourhood plans. Encourage public consultation at the earliest possible stage.
- Reduce carbon emissions at City Hall and in civic operations, contributing to a cleaner world while setting an example for citizens and business.
Capital Regional District Policy
We share a natural jewel here on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, which collectively we can steward to provide prosperity for all alongside healthy ecosystems. I am committed to moving forward on the following policies:
- Respect the Urban Containment Boundary, protecting forest lands in the Gulf Islands, Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area and farmlands in the western communities and the Saanich Peninsula from urban sprawl, guided by the values of ecosystem protection, recreational access and food security.
- Implement a Regional Housing Levy, initially valued at $25 per household per year, to mobilize $4-million annually in seed funds as a means of leveraging provincial and federal funds required to end homelessness and ensure housing affordability in our region.
- Move toward an elected, accountable CRD, with increased revenue-generating powers to provide integrated services while placing our regional government on a democratic footing. Retain local control over land-use through the existing municipal framework.
- Create a Regional Transportation Authority, under the auspices of the CRD, to oversee the expansion of comprehensive, fuel-efficient bus service and commuter rail along the E&N Corridor connecting downtown Victoria to the western communities, Cobble Hill and Duncan, with a medium-term strategy of a commuter rail link along the Saanich Peninsula.
- Complete the East-West Hiking Trail through the Sooke Hills Wilderness Preserve, linking Langford in the vicinity of the Humpback Reservoir to Sooke Mountain Provincial Park and CRD parkland along the Sooke River.
- Work with senior government partners to complete public, tertiary sewage treatment, generating revenue through resource recovery.
- Develop a regional Incomes Strategy to provide economic security for seniors, youth, working people and people with disabilities, while supporting local enterprise through increased purchasing power and “Buy Local” initiatives.
Share your ideas and help build a fair, safe and green Victoria.