Spring time is here. I hope you are taking time to enjoy the warmer, drier weather and explore the natural areas and cultural activities in our city and region.
We are emerging from a busy time at Victoria City Hall and the CRD, marked by annual budgeting and cyclical priority setting. While working to contain the tax burden on residents, I have taken steps to protect and improve our highly valued, quality public services.
Here is a summary of some recent initiatives:
- Successfully advocated to protect funding for Greenways in the 2012 budget, while initiating a motion to extend Council’s budget deliberations, which made further tax savings possible;
- Voted against a $16-million increase in the Johnson Street Bridge project, while proposing a design change to contain costs and accommodate cycling/walking amenities and commuter rail;
- Initiated a discussion between citizens and City staff to improve safety of pedestrian crosswalks;
- Spearheaded a unanimous motion in favour of a harm reduction approach to drug use;
- Facilitated the communication of the City’s new Official Community Plan to neighbhourhood associations.
- Met with Oaklands residents and City and CRD housing staff to explore options for community uses of the St. Alban’s Church property.
- Initiated the discussion of a Regional Housing Levy at the CRD Board table;
- Worked with Regional Parks staff to improve safety at Elk Lake, facilitating the installation of safety signage for swimmers as a result of a citizen’s suggestion;
- Proposed tax savings of $40,000 by recommending that the Board take decision-making responsibility with respect to Deer Management;
- Began discussions at the Greater Victoria Water Commission and CRD Parks Committee on recreational opportunities in the Leech River watershed, lands owned by the CRD that will not be required for drinking water for 30-70 years.
- Participated in the annual conference of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC), speaking to motions relating to tanker traffic in coastal waters, harm reduction and participatory budgeting. Forged valuable connections with elected officials from small and large communities, rural areas, and the Island Corridor Foundation, discussing opportunities for inter-city and commuter rail to Downtown Victoria;
- Attended the opening of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in Victoria, meeting with Justice Murray Sinclair.
- Finally, I have attended a number of local cultural events, including the launch of the Victoria Jazz Festival, the M Awards, volunteer appreciation week at Our Place, and the annual Earth Walk.
I welcome your feedback on these and other issues. My weekly Open Office Hours take place on Thursdays from 5-6pm at the Solstice Cafe, 529 Pandora. You can contact Victoria City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org and request to address City Council and the CRD Board.
Feel free to contact me any time with your questions or ideas.
All the best,