I couldn’t agree more with Gillian Thompson’s comments regarding the St. Alban’s property, and I hope that the city finds a way to ensure that the value of this property (so much a result of the care and efforts of people in the surrounding community) is not lost in its ‘development’. The city must ensure that the green-way on Ryan street, the old Sequoia, and other aspects of the property are preserved – if not the hall itself which is a treasured part of our community!
–Elina Hill, Victoria
“The sale to a developer, set to close on 1 April, of St Albans Church and Church Hall in Oaklands, designated surplus property by the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia, raises important questions for Victoria residents about property owned by religious institutions. Is it right that the diocesan council may sell both church and hall, even though the hall, long rented to such groups as a pre-school and a children’s dance class, is central to community life in Oaklands? Or that Victoria city council should choose development over acquiring this largely green space and maintaining the hall and the public services it has provided? Will the city save the Sequoia beside the church, probably the oldest planted tree in Oaklands, from the bulldozer? Generations of children from all over greater Victoria, including significant numbers in recent years, have taken part in activities in the church hall and on its surrounding property. Such activities risk being prohibitively expensive or no longer available to anyone when this unique public property is no more.
Given the special tax-status of Victoria churches and the community services which they provide, are they not all a kind of public property? Should the Anglican church be able to sell any of its long-established churches and attached property on the open market? Surely such churches and church halls serve as community centres for all kinds of people. Is it appropriate that local governments invariably promote development rather than the preservation of public space? Why not involve citizens in deciding the future use of ‘surplus’ church property in their neighbourhoods? Does it have to be too late to do this for Oaklands? ”
–D. Gillian Thompson, historian, Oaklands
“As a young person starting my professional career in Victoria, I like your emphasis on local enterprise. I think more attention could be placed on the IT sector and embracing technology to improve the quality of life for everyone.”
–Thomas Woodsworth, policy analyst, Fairfield
“I am concerned about safety in our neighbourhoods. It is good to see these ideas being addressed in the upcoming election.”
–Verity Murray, parent and small-business owner, Oaklands
”I would like to see Government Street, from Courtney to Yates, turned into a pedestrian/cycle mall, with designated lanes for cyclists, and maybe a one way center lane thoroughfare for those horse/buggy contraptions. Wider sidewalks for pedestrians. Look to Calgary’s 8th Avenue Mall for inspiration. Best of luck on the campaign trail.”
–John McFetrick, filmmaker, View Royal
“Your platform is exactly what this city/community needs at this point in time. I’m sure many residents will share in making these solutions a reality. Progressive, insightful, logical. Time to harness our strong local resources and talents, uniting for the benefit of all. You’ve got my vote.”
–Lucas Goris, Fernwood
Your ideas and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Informed, engaged citizens are integral to improving our city, region and world. Please contact me personally (Ben@Isitt.ca) with any further suggestions or questions.