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


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#21 G-Man

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:21 AM

I think she moved to Victoria because I am pretty sure I have heard her speak at the Victoria Council meeting. Wowee

#22 Bernard

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:49 AM

So where is spending for a new Johnson Street Bridge among the priorities?

#23 Mike K.

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 12:48 PM

You're right, it wasn't on the "books." Now it's the most pressing issue in Victoria well ahead of the election campaign promises of addressing homelessness, affordability, harm reduction and downtown crime.

The infrastructure goals, as per the original post of this thread, included a "20 year capital plan" and not a hasty bridge replacement.

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#24 Chris J

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 03:47 PM

That's a tricky issue, because one way of looking at those priorities is that they don't have to represent the order is which these issues are addressed. From my understanding council feels that the most appropriate time to address this particular infrastructure project (considering that infrastructure is one of the priorities) in sooner than later because of the availability of federal stimulus grants. Whether that's the case or whether the logic that they are following or their motivations for taking on this project are consistent with the framework they set for themselves is beyond me at this current moment. What would be more relevant to single out perhaps is actions and projects that do not fit into any of those priorities.
I think the order they are presented in on the website should be important, as they do seem to align with the order that the public seemed to express was important during the election campaign.
So perhaps as much money and attention or more needs to be put towards the other priorities, at least over the length of this term, then we will be putting into infrastructure. More perhaps, as they rate higher in the order.
I'm still learning all this myself however, and is just my novice thoughts. And what I'm learning is that it's quite a complicated situation for the average voter to navigate.

#25 Bernard

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 04:23 PM

but clearly the Johnson Street Bridge does not meet the federal requirements for the grant as the feds wanted projects that were ready to go now and would be finished soon, neither of which are the case in with the bridge.

Victoria had a very long list of projects ready to work on ASAP in January but I do not think they are acting on the long list they said were a priority and ready to act on.

#26 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 07:56 PM

So, I came across an interesting post on the Creative Class blog, which made me go back to this item, posted by Rob Randall waayyyyyy back in March - that's half a year ago. More on the Creative Class blog item in a second, first a refresher on the Media Release by the City of Victoria:

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.

(...snip...) 1. Homelessness
Council’s top priority. Everyone who needs a home and support should have one.
(...snip...)

2. Affordable Housing
Victoria will be a community of mixed-use, mixed income neighbourhoods with a vacancy rate higher than 4%.
(...snip...)

3. Enhance Council Decision Making - Governance
Enhance decision-making process and governance model to achieve meaningful input on community issues.
(...snip...)

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.
(...snip...)

6. Quality Core Service Delivery –Infrastructure
Prioritize opportunities, funding and urgency of projects. Provide quality services now and for future generations
(...snip...)

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
(...snip...)


Ok, now that your memory is refreshed, read this entry, How to Engage Citizens on a Municipal Website, by David Eaves:

Sometimes, it’s nice to be small. The City of Nanaimo has been pushing the envelope on open data and open government for a number of years now.

Recently, I was directed to their new Council Agendas and Minutes webpage. I recommend you check it out.

Here’s why.

At first blush the site seems normal. There is the standard video of the council meeting (queue cheesy local cable access public service announcement), but the meeting minutes underneath are actually broken down by the second and by clicking on them you can jump straight to that moment in the meeting.

As anyone who’s ever attended a City Council meeting (or the legislature, or parliament) knows, the 80/20 rule is basically always in effect. About 80 percent of the time the proceedings are either dead boring and about 20 percent (often much less) of the time the proceedings are exciting, or more importantly, pertinent to you. One challenge with getting citizens engaged on the local level is that they often encounter a noise to signal problem. The ratio of “noise” (issues a given citizen doesn’t care about) drowns out the “signal” (the relatively fewer issues they do care about).

The City of Nanaimo’s website helps address this problem. It enables citizens to find what matters to them without having to watch or scroll through a long and dry council meeting. Better still, they are given a number of options by which to share that relevant moment with friends, neighbors, allies, or colleagues via Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, or any other number of social media tools.

One might be wondering: Can my city afford such a wiz-bang setup?

Excellent question.

Given Nanaimo’s modest size (it has 78,692 citizens) suggests they have a modest IT budget. So I asked Chris McLuckie, a City of Nanaimo public servant who worked on the project. He informed me that the system was built in-house by him and another city staff member; it uses off-the-shelf hardware and software and so cost under $2,000 and it took two weeks to code up.

Two weeks?

No million dollar contract? No eight-month timeline? No expensive new software?

No, if you’re smart, a couple of creative hackers can put something together in no time at all.

You know what’s more - because Chris and the City of Nanaimo want to help more cities learn how to think like the web, I bet if the IT director from any city (or legislative body) asked nicely, they would just give them the code.

So how Open is your city? And if not, do they have $2,000 lying around to change that?

Obviously, having a guy like Chris McLuckie heading things up is ...well, a lucky break for Nanaimo (those I've talked to who know Chris attest to his smarts - and above all, that he has the right mind-set, namely open).

But surely it's fair to ask why the City of Victoria is so hamstrung as to need literally months to get its web presence in order. And to ask how much money the city has already spent on "upgrading" its website (which still stinks) - and on how much the Johnsonstreetbridge.com site cost??
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#27 martini

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 09:56 PM

^ Thank you for pulling up that press release. I will find it helpful tomorrow.

Very interesting and worthy information about what Nanaimo has accomplished on a shoestring compared to Victoria.

#28 Masterofnothing

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 06:23 PM

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


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-


I thought this mayor was actually going to tackle these things, but he seems really bent on blowing $64 MILLION on this bridge! In hard economic times too!

I wonder how far that $64 Million would go to help items# 1, 2, & 5 ?

Where ever is the priority? The Blue Bridge still has at least 30 years of life in it - can't repairs wait until better times ? - Also, the regional district and Victorians will also have to cough up how many billions on the sewage system. Wonder why Gordon's government is not cutting that plan until better times. ?

#29 Holden West

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 06:34 PM

The life of the bridge depends greatly on whether we get that once-in-a-millenium earthquake.

If we do, it's probably toast. If we don't, we could probably run it into the ground doing only essential repairs in 20 years, or do a major upgrade and maybe get twice as much life.
"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

#30 Barra

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 03:37 PM

Thanks for the link and info on the City of Nanaimo website. Sounds like they found a good low-cost option. I was puzzled, though, why the posted Council minutes are from the August 10 meeting. It turns out that their Council only meets once a month!
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#31 Holden West

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 08:10 AM

Fortin will be on Easingwood's show this morning, 9:30 am.

http://www.cfax1070....callsign=CFAXAM
"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

#32 Rob Randall

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 10:47 PM

Veteran Councillor loses Downtown portfolio

By Robert Randall • Published on Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Victoria mayor Dean Fortin has taken the prominent Downtown/Harris Green Liaison portfolio away from Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe and has given it to rookie Councillor John Luton.

Thornton-Joe, the top vote getter in the 2008 civic election, has held the portfolio since first being elected in 2002. She also has the neighbouring Burnside/Gorge portfolio and will remain Council’s representative to that district. Luton currently is liaison to the Victoria West neighbourhood.


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

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#33 Rob Randall

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 11:29 PM

^One correction I'd like to make to the above story: Charlayne says she wasn't really surprised to lose the portfolio as the Cuff report had suggested revolving portfolios and she had held the Downtown post for eight years, far longer than most other Councillors kept their portfolios.

Charlayne will continue to attend some Downtown-related committees, such as the Downtown Service Providers and a couple of others.

Those of us on the Pandora Green Good Neighbour Committee were chagrined to learn Phillipe Lucas is our new Council liaison. Lucas of course, voted against the anti-camping bylaw the Good Neighbour Group is endorsing.

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

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#34 Rob Randall

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 09:29 PM

I neglected to let you know City Hall declared July 7th, 2010 as "Global Forgiveness Day".

Sorry I'm late on this. I hope you'll forgive me.

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

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#35 Bingo

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 09:30 AM

Lynne Hunter coming up on CFAX with Murray Langdon.

#36 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 10:31 PM

Thursday, City Council will announce a proclamation for "Pain Awareness Week".

It will run November 1 to 7, 2010 but it really kicks in when property tax assessment are mailed next year.

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

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#37 Holden West

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 06:27 PM

I don't know what thread to put this in but it sounds like the City of Victoria is having Ipsos Reid do some polling for them, or at least the subject is about the City. I got a call but didn't qualify as a resident. So if you get a call, answer it, we'd like to know what they're polling about.
"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

#38 Baro

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:43 PM

I've never once in my life been politically polled, the best I get are the odd crappy product surveys.
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#39 Holden West

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:16 AM

 

Complaining about the communications budget is kind of a waste of effort.  The Mayor's answers to that is too easy, "we have lots going on in the city, and citizens want to be kept informed, and they want input.  Everything from streaming live council meetings, to meeting citizens at community consultation sessions in their area.  That takes a bit of money, but it's well-spent if it means a more open and accountable government."

 

Who's going to complain about that statement?

 

I think people forget that a big chunk of that communications budget went into live streaming and having online versions of city agendas and other items. Last term, the best you could hope for online was a pdf of the agenda to be posted online and you'd have to visit in person for a hard copy of the supporting documents like building plans. Today, every document is online and meetings are live streamed. That takes a lot of union staff time and money. So it's not really fair to compare the budgets of two different eras.

 

If a candidate is calling for the elimination of spokespeople, that's another thing. But then a lot of their work is going to be dumped back onto the politicians. Which is good in many ways but in those days a media comment on an issue would be skewed depending on which councillor was being interviewed (for example Bea Holland vs. Sonya Chandler on a building height variance) and this would be frustrating if you're wanting the official City Hall opinion.


Edited by Holden West, 25 September 2014 - 11:18 AM.

"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

#40 Mike K.

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:24 PM

You do raise a valid point, Holden, but I do have to wonder whether digital access to documents, livestream of meetings and various online tools aren't part of the "open government" agenda and have nothing to do with PR/communications?

 

I would think digitizing documents and releasing online tools is not part of the PR department's mandate but granted it could very well be (the City seems mum on what they're spending the money on, just saying that they need to spend to get the best, or whatever it was Fortin said on Ian Jessop's interview).


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