Issues Facing Saanich
The interim injunction granted to shut down the Regina Park homeless camp is welcome and needed but is really no solution at all. There is a very real possibly that two to three months from now the camp will reappear and the process will start all over again. That is unacceptable, we in Saanich must work together to find a solution that works not only for the person's in need but also for the residents and taxpayers. Residents and businesses located adjacent to homeless camps should be given special consideration and their concerns and worries addressed. We have to come to terms with the fact that homelessness in Saanich is not a temporary situation, but a reality of today's world. Saanich needs to get ahead of this, we can no longer 'react', we must 'act'. I propose that we work with the guidelines as laid out in the various court cases, dedicate a location (park, green space, etc), provide basic services to allow those in need a place of community with out fear of being removed. Time limits, drug/alcohol policy, shuttle service, support from various homeless agencies can all be fleshed out as we move forward. What is not acceptable is allowing homeless camps to be erected at will.
Victoria / Saanich Amalgamation
I am against amalgamation. I support the question and I applaud council asking a clear question. I will wholeheartedly support the results. I personally am against amalgamation for the following reasons;
Any purported savings can be achieved outside of amalgamation. Cut council size, difficult as that may be it would have to happen if all districts merged. Merge certain administrative tasks such as payroll services.
Saanich would lose its voice and character, especially rural Saanich. With amalgamation, rural Saanich would lose its voice at table to protect our rural interests. Too much council weight would lie with urban voters.
I do not want to form any union with a Victoria council which makes a decision as emotional, which touches every Canadian as removing a statue of Sir John A Macdonald without proper consolation with its residents.
Protect Rural Saanich
I was against repealing the EDPA. While not perfect, the needed changes could have been achieved within the current framework. To scrape the by-law in its entirely is to me a complete waste of money. All the time, money and political capital spent to introduce the original EDPA is now lost. I fear it will be years before an alternative to the EDPA is implemented. Any new EDPA must include all District land held to the same standards as private land.
Fiscal responsibility is really quite simple, respect the taxpayers and respect that the money council spends comes from Saanich residents for the betterment of Saanich both today and going forward. Taxes are unavoidable, but excessive property tax increases are the result of bad policy and/or foolish spending. I would push for a cap on both tax rate increases and a cap on a homes assessed value increases. This allows home owners a certain amount of consistency in the amount of property taxes they pay year to year. This also puts pressure on council to 'live within our means'.
Transparency of Council
This will require a leap of faith from the residents of Saanich. I can assure you that should I be fortunate enough to win your trust and gain a seat at council I will be open, transparent, willing to discuss all issues and always put your concerns first.
Preserving Kings Road Park
I live in the Saanich 'PanHandle' so this is a very local issue to me. I could not do justice to the research and the untold hours of work that Adam Kreek and Rebecca Sterritt have put into preserving this jewel of a green space. I support their efforts. I will work with council to make this a priority and find a way to purchase this land from BC hydro.