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City of Victoria - 2014-2018 Mayor and Council General Discussion Thread


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#1 Rob Randall

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 10:06 PM

M e d i a R e l e a s e

City Council Adopts Seven Immediate Strategic Priorities


Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, BC — City Council has identified seven priorities for the coming months representing the issues
Council wants to see immediate action on.

The seven priorities focus on homelessness; affordable housing; council decision making; public communication;
harm reduction; infrastructure; and downtown late night issues.

“Council has worked as a team to analyze a number of pressing community issues with the goal of identifying
real, sustainable solutions,” said Mayor Dean Fortin. “It’s critical that the community understand what Council is
focusing on so they know what to expect as we move forward.”

Mayor Fortin added, “We’ve hit the ground running in these first months. Already we’ve introduced a number of
programs that will help us advance the priorities we’ve set, including the secondary suite grant incentive
program, relaxed zoning for secondary suites, and tax exemptions for affordable housing developments.”

In two weeks, Council will hold a full day planning session to finalize the long-term strategic plan for the three
year term of Council. This plan will be shared broadly with the community and will contain short and long term
performance measures that will guide City operations for the coming years.

-30-

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY:
Mayor Fortin is available for comment until noon.

Backgrounder

Council has adopted seven key priorities for the next three-six months:

1. Homelessness


Council’s top priority. Everyone who needs a home and support should have one.
*Continue working with the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and community partners on
identifying opportunities and service gaps
*Explore funding opportunities with other levels of government
*Continue to facilitate current projects underway – Humboldt Valley, Ellice Street

2. Affordable Housing

Victoria will be a community of mixed-use, mixed income neighbourhoods with a vacancy rate higher than 4%.
*Launch secondary suite grant incentive program and adapted zoning regulations
*Pursue tax incentives for strategic affordable housing initiatives
*Expedite municipal approvals for affordable/social housing projects

3. Enhance Council Decision Making - Governance


Enhance decision-making process and governance model to achieve meaningful input on community issues.
*Introduce new governance model

4. Enhanced Communications

Enhance communications with the residents and businesses in the City and Region to make information easier
to access and understand, and provide more opportunities for citizens to provide input and participate in City
initiatives.
*Develop a public engagement strategy - a toolkit for effective public engagement on a variety of issues and
initiatives
*Produce newsletter three times per year for all Victoria residents
*Redevelop City’s website
*Pursue options for web streaming Council meetings

5. Harm Reduction

Improve the overall health and safety of community. Advance substantial progress – not displace problems.
*Pursue distributed needle exchange model to address immediate health risks
*Consider findings of VIHA-led committees on locations for fixed sites
*Advocate for increased detox and treatment services in the Region

6. Quality Core Service Delivery –Infrastructure

Prioritize opportunities, funding and urgency of projects. Provide quality services now and for future generations
*Determine immediate infrastructure priorities in 20 year capital plan
*Create Department of Sustainability and Finalize Sustainability Framework
*Submit project request to federal and provincial government

7. Downtown Late Night Nuisances

Work with key stakeholders to identify strategies to support a robust and vibrant economy and ensure people
are safe downtown
*Strike Downtown Late Night Task Force
*Determine design and technical feasibility for public urinals

-30-

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#2 mat

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 10:25 PM

Having read the news release there appears to be one major point not addressed - inter government communication.

They could have noted this

CRD MOST ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT IN CANADA
Mar 10, 2009
THE CAPITAL REGIONAL DISTRICT IS TRUMPETTING RECEIPT OF ANOTHER FINANCIAL INDUSTRY AWARD.

THE DISTRICT HAS WON THE CANADIAN AWARD FOR FINANCIAL REPORTING, FROM THE GOVERNMENT FINANCE OFFICERS' ASSOCIATION.

REGIONAL BOARD CHAIR GEOFF YOUNG SAYS "ACCESSIBLE AND EASILY UNDERSTANDABLE FINANCIAL INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT TO TRANSPARENT OPERATIONS AT THE CRD..." AND THIS AWARD REFLECTS BEST PRACTICES IN FINANCIAL REPORTING. IT'S THE 10TH TIME THE CAPITAL REGIONAL DISTRICT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED.


but as one of the points is

5. Harm Reduction

Improve the overall health and safety of community. Advance substantial progress – not displace problems.
*Pursue distributed needle exchange model to address immediate health risks
*Consider findings of VIHA-led committees on locations for fixed sites
*Advocate for increased detox and treatment services in the Region


surely an emphasis on municipal governance, communication and coordination would be a priority.

#3 Rob Randall

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 10:45 PM

Having read the news release there appears to be one major point not addressed - inter government communication.


Yes, this is very worrying. You will recall how quickly the new Mayor of Vancouver initiated a dialogue with the Province. I am not optimistic there will be a great improvement.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#4 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:36 AM

CFAX Newspoll yesterday:

Polls

The city of Victoria has released their top priorities in order of importance. Which do you feel is the number one issue?
Answer Votes %
Homelessness 259 36%
Affordable housing 218 30%
Governance model 8 1%
Communications 6 1%
Harm reduction 32 4%
Infrastructure 139 19%
Downtown late-night nuisances 54 8%
Total: 716 100%

#5 UrbanRail

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:23 PM

The top 3 concerns listed get my vote.

Personally the billion or so dollars to house Olympic athletes would have better spent on housing the homeless and providing affordable housing to those in need. (and no this is not socialism, its called caring for those who need help), but then again we all know that sacrifices are needed to make the Olympics a reality (rolling eyes).

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#6 Rob Randall

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:42 PM

Council has divided that list into things that can be done now, things that can be done soon and things that will have to get done later. I don't know which ones, though.

Enhance communications with the residents and businesses in the City and Region to make information easier
to access and understand, and provide more opportunities for citizens to provide input and participate in City
initiatives.


I suspect the Cuff Report will say Community Associations have too much say in Planning issues and the City will use more open houses and community events to get broader input into various initiatives.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#7 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:25 PM

I suspect the Cuff Report will say Community Associations have too much say in Planning issues and the City will use more open houses and community events to get broader input into various initiatives.


I hope they (we?) can figure out how to get that broader input. It's very difficult to get the community to sign on (figuratively) to participate, especially if people think their participation will just entail countless meetings (with no concrete output/ result).

At the same time, that's where we have to get to (broader participation). I can't tell you how many people have told me that they don't want anything to do with their neighborhood/ community association in Victoria. The CAs are perceived by many non-participants as closed shops, run by insiders of mostly angry people beating the same dead horse over and over.

Very straight-looking middle-aged (and older) people have told me that they're afraid to speak at CA meetings, to voice their opinions because they won't be heard anyway, since the old guard leadership isn't interested in new or different ideas.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#8 jklymak

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 05:55 AM

The whole City of Victoria encompasses the population of a community association in a large city. The idea that Fairfield is "distinct" from James Bay is "distinct" from Fernwood has got to stop.

#9 Caramia

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 07:46 AM

I personally like the distinct flavour of each village. I just think that we need to revisit the boundaries a bit more closely. Honestly, the only time that I think poorly of CAs is when they

a) interfere with property that is technically in their jurisdiction for historical reasons but functionally downtown or harbour - in those instances, I think they should still have a voice but not dominate the conversation - those areas truly do belong to all of us

b) become controlled by people who don't understand the importance of each neighbourhood taking on a portion of Victoria's social needs ie: shelters & other services, density, affordable housing. That is to say people who use their social and financial clout to benefit their own neighbourhood at the expense of other less wealthy neighbourhoods.

c) become the long-term fiefdom of a small group of individuals with a lot of leisure time, who consider themselves "the community" and shut out or discourage other voices.

These conditions aside, I think CAs are an ingredient in making Victoria such a great city. They do help preserve and enhance the uniqueness of each village, and that diversity is what gives us the rich social landscape that I love. In fact, I'd even go a step further and mobilize citizens of the future to protect and enhance the diversity of Old Town, North Downtown, Humbolt Valley, Rock Bay, and any other distinct area.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
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#10 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 11:49 AM

A substantial reorganization of City Hall process has just been made public.

Gone are the traditional entities like Committee of the Whole, Advisory Planning Commission and other committees like Cycling and Environment along with the traditional portfolio assignments.

In their place will be a series of standing committees and advisory committees that will do a lot of the detail work, freeing up Council to work on larger issues.

The goal is a more holistic approach to referring projects to the public or Council, breaking down those silos. For instance, instead of a cycling committee, there will be a Public Advisory Committee that meets monthly and deals with environment and infrastructure issues. The other new committee is Community Development. The Advisory Design Panel and Heritage Advisory Committee are the only two entities to survive the reorganization.

The four public advisory committees connect with four Standing Committees, each comprised of three councillors. The Mayor and other Councillors are invited to attend for informational purposes as desired as non-voting attendees. The work of these groups flows through an Agenda Committee that decides what to send to Council meetings or Governance & Priorities Committee (the new name for Committee of the Whole).

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#11 G-Man

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 12:54 PM

That hurts my head. Will there be a Central Party Committee?

So what is happening to the CA's?

#12 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:00 PM

Apparently there is a sub report out of the Cuff Report called the Turner Report, out in 2-3 weeks it will detail what specifically will happen with Community Associations.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#13 G-Man

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:21 PM

^ Are you joking?

#14 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:59 PM

No, it was a surprise.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#15 Bernard

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 03:47 PM

A substantial reorganization of City Hall process has just been made public.

Gone are the traditional entities like Committee of the Whole, Advisory Planning Commission and other committees like Cycling and Environment along with the traditional portfolio assignments.

In their place will be a series of standing committees and advisory committees that will do a lot of the detail work, freeing up Council to work on larger issues.

The goal is a more holistic approach to referring projects to the public or Council, breaking down those silos. For instance, instead of a cycling committee, there will be a Public Advisory Committee that meets monthly and deals with environment and infrastructure issues. The other new committee is Community Development. The Advisory Design Panel and Heritage Advisory Committee are the only two entities to survive the reorganization.

The four public advisory committees connect with four Standing Committees, each comprised of three councillors. The Mayor and other Councillors are invited to attend for informational purposes as desired as non-voting attendees. The work of these groups flows through an Agenda Committee that decides what to send to Council meetings or Governance & Priorities Committee (the new name for Committee of the Whole).


Where would I find this on the city website???? The lay of the land?

#16 jklymak

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 05:06 PM

I personally like the distinct flavour of each village.


I like them too. However, I think they evolved organically without the CAs.

I just think that we need to revisit the boundaries a bit more closely. Honestly, the only time that I think poorly of CAs is when they

a) interfere with property that is technically in their jurisdiction for historical reasons but functionally downtown or harbour - in those instances, I think they should still have a voice but not dominate the conversation - those areas truly do belong to all of us

b) become controlled by people who don't understand the importance of each neighbourhood taking on a portion of Victoria's social needs ie: shelters & other services, density, affordable housing. That is to say people who use their social and financial clout to benefit their own neighbourhood at the expense of other less wealthy neighbourhoods.

c) become the long-term fiefdom of a small group of individuals with a lot of leisure time, who consider themselves "the community" and shut out or discourage other voices.

These conditions aside, I think CAs are an ingredient in making Victoria such a great city. They do help preserve and enhance the uniqueness of each village, and that diversity is what gives us the rich social landscape that I love. In fact, I'd even go a step further and mobilize citizens of the future to protect and enhance the diversity of Old Town, North Downtown, Humbolt Valley, Rock Bay, and any other distinct area.


I think that small CAs encourage parochialism, and thus a, b and c. If you are just fighting for Fairfield then you are going to argue strongly not to place "undesirable" things (like shelters, soup kitchens, bars) in Fairfield. The more "individuals with a lot of leisure time" you have (i.e. if you are in the more affluent parts of the city) the better able you are to fend off potential encroachments.

I'm not saying that neighbourhood X shouldn't be allowed to have an association, but I don't think it should have an important role in the civic government beyond lobbying as any other organization can.

#17 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 10:12 PM

There will be five Public Advisory Committees. Like I said, the Advisory Design Panel and Heritage (each with nine members) stay the same. The new Committees are:

- Planning [replaces old Advisory Planning Commission) (planning and transportation policy initiatives referred by GPC (old CotW):
-official community plan
-neighbourhood plans
-major zoning bylaw amendments
-impacts of development on transportation system

Community Development
Arts/culture
Community & Economic development
Parks & Rec
community Social Services and Housing
Community Livability

Environment and Infrastructure

Energy conservation & GHG reduction strategies
Parks, natural spaces & urban forest
Solid/liquid waste management
Transportation infrastructure
Water/Air quality

Each of the above committees will have nine members. If you think you'd be a good fit for one, the City will be accepting applications very shortly. You may also question the fact that nine members are needed to study heritage and only nine are needed for a massive portfolio like Environment & Infrastructure.

The citizen volunteers on the new Planning committee will deal with higher level policy items instead weighing in on individual projects.

As you can imagine, members of the existing Advisory Planning Commission and the Cycling Committee were not happy about this. The said their groups were already working well--up and running with expert members and now they see their influence reduced. The Mayor said it was wrong to look at it as a demotion--more like a holistic, multidisciplinary approach where for instance if a bike path is being considered, trees and environmental runoff are dealt with right there. Previously, proposals ping-ponged among various commitees: Cycling, Environment/Shoreline, Parks & Rec. etc. then to CotW then perhaps another round of committees.

The Mayor made it clear--previously the committees were comprised of experts. The new committees will be comprised of citizens with expertise. They will be expected to weigh in on areas outside their speciality.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#18 Ginger Snap

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 11:07 PM

Where would I find this on the city website???? The lay of the land?


I posted this on the Cuff thread as well. The full report can now be found here


http://www.victoria....overnance.shtml

#19 Bernard

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 11:46 AM

I posted this on the Cuff thread as well. The full report can now be found here


http://www.victoria....overnance.shtml


Thank you, it was missing it in all of my searches online

#20 Holden West

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:08 AM

No word yet on having a video feed from City Council.

I want one so I can listen to people like this.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

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