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Ben Isitt | Victoria Council


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#81 Phil McAvity

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 02:59 AM

So Ben, are you a Marxist?
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#82 isitt

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 04:15 PM

Phil: My political orientation is democratic socialist, favouring political change through the electoral process based on free and fair elections, proportional representation, and respect for human rights. As a historian, I think that the political economy approach of Marx and others has interpretive value, helping to explain changes in society with reference to conflicts over resources and the interests of distinct economic groups. The Youtube video mentioned in this forum was filmed during a research trip examining Canada and the Russian Revolution (which culminated in my book From Victoria to Vladivostok), one of 55 videos in a series entitled "Vladivostok to London" (http://www.youtube.c...feature=mh_lolz).

#83 Bernard

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 10:55 AM

I have thought for a long time that Marxism was a better tool for understanding history than an economic tool for the future.

#84 AllseeingEye

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 11:14 AM

I have to strongly agree with Bernard on that point: my extended family from the former so-called German "Democratic" Republic - a misnomer if there ever was one - would happily attest to the utter failure - on every level - of the Marxist state at least as practiced in that sad excuse for a political state. East Europeans didn't consign it to the "ash heap of history" for nothing.....

#85 gumgum

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:59 PM

Interesting article about Isitt in Focus. I couldn't find it online.

Basically there was a bunch of stuff about his socialism, but what I found encouraging was his stance on density. He spelled out the need for it in order the take the pressure off the outlying areas. It was a relief to read.

Specifically he spoke of the area north of downtown and how it should be infilled.

I would go even further and say that there are many missing teeth in the mouth of downtown that should be filled as well.

#86 Greg

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 09:24 AM

^I would be interested to hear Councilor Isitt's rationale for voting to delay the Northern Junk / Reliance proposal in light of his views of density.

#87 gumgum

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 09:55 AM

^Well this is what he wrote a couple thread pages earlier.

At the risk of adding more hot air to this forum (and dignifying some of the comments above with a reply), here is my position with regards to the Northern Junk proposal:

-the previous council erred in providing the opportunity to a single developer to envision possibilities for this prime downtown real estate;

-given the Johnson Street Bridge project, the first step is for council and staff to determine the final design for the easterly (downtown-side) bridgehead;

-Council should then inventory city land in the vicinity of the bridgehead (including the proposed land adjacent to Northern Junk) to determine whether any of this land is surplus (exploring all options, including greenspace and future uses such as rail);

-if land is determined to be surplus, consider whether such land can meet the city's social priorities (vis a vis affordable housing), through discussions with BC Housing, VIHA and not-for-profit providers;

-if a stand-alone publicly financed housing initiative is deemed impractical, the City should consider issuing a Request for Proposals to the private sector, with priority given to applications that (1) partner with social housing providers; (2) provide public access to the harbour front; and (3) enhance the heritage character of Old Town (in that order).

Ben


Ben Isitt
Victoria City Councillor and CRD Director
Email. Ben@Isitt.ca | Tel. 250.882.9302
Web. www.BenIsitt.ca



#88 Greg

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 10:29 AM

^Well this is what he wrote a couple thread pages earlier.


I was optimistically hoping his thinking might have evolved after being exposed to how much research and planning has actually gone into this project, and having had a chance to compare the project plans to the current uses of that property.

I'd really like to know if he plans to actively block what many consider to be a dramatic improvement over the present situation because he would prefer to keep open the possibility for his preferred and highly unlikely taxpayer-funded waterfront social housing concept.

#89 isitt

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:37 AM

As I mention in this blog post, Council's discretion for the Northern Junk development is shaped by a secret decision in January 2010 in which council agreed to sell the property -- in the absence of community consultation or the entertaining of competing bids from private and non-profit developers for the "highest and best use" of the property. See: http://isitt.ca/vote...n-at-city-hall/.

However, reflecting council's previous direction, I have suggested that this project needs to be compatible the immediately adjacent rail corridor to the north, that the building(s) should reflect the existing character, style and density of Old Town, and that there should be generous setbacks from the shoreline to allow for public access and restoration of natural attributes such as the rocky outcropping on the shoreline.

My view on density, as indicated in the Focus magazine article http://isitt.ca/vote...gazine-feature/, is that the city and builders should "look north" to the vast underutilized area between Chinatown and Uptown, and between Victoria Harbour-Burnside Rd to Blanshard Ave (an area that I am describing as "Midtown." I am proposing that Victoria develop a "Midtown Master Plan" for this area in concert with Saanich. We could have 80 mid-rise buildings in the area, which could provide considerable housing (for all income groups), jobs, and return on investments for several decades, connected by greenways, mass transit and street-level retail.

Ben


Ben Isitt
Victoria City Councillor and CRD Director
Email. Ben@Isitt.ca | Tel. 250.882.9302
Web. www.BenIsitt.ca

#90 aastra

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:20 AM

...this project needs to be compatible the immediately adjacent rail corridor to the north, that the building(s) should reflect the existing character, style and density of Old Town, and that there should be generous setbacks from the shoreline to allow for public access...


The revised proposal seems to address all of these points, although I agree with you about the importance of restoring the shoreline. The city's reluctance to restore the shoreline along the causeway has been very aggravating. It's disrespectful to the natural history of the area and it's surely hurting tourism. Don't get me started on Ross Bay.

#91 Greg

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:53 AM

As I mention in this blog post, Council's discretion for the Northern Junk development is shaped by a secret decision in January 2010 in which council agreed to sell the property -- in the absence of community consultation or the entertaining of competing bids from private and non-profit developers for the "highest and best use" of the property. See: http://isitt.ca/vote...n-at-city-hall/.

However, reflecting council's previous direction, I have suggested that this project needs to be compatible the immediately adjacent rail corridor to the north, that the building(s) should reflect the existing character, style and density of Old Town, and that there should be generous setbacks from the shoreline to allow for public access and restoration of natural attributes such as the rocky outcropping on the shoreline.

My view on density, as indicated in the Focus magazine article http://isitt.ca/vote...gazine-feature/, is that the city and builders should "look north" to the vast underutilized area between Chinatown and Uptown, and between Victoria Harbour-Burnside Rd to Blanshard Ave (an area that I am describing as "Midtown." I am proposing that Victoria develop a "Midtown Master Plan" for this area in concert with Saanich. We could have 80 mid-rise buildings in the area, which could provide considerable housing (for all income groups), jobs, and return on investments for several decades, connected by greenways, mass transit and street-level retail.

Ben


Ben Isitt
Victoria City Councillor and CRD Director
Email. Ben@Isitt.ca | Tel. 250.882.9302
Web. www.BenIsitt.ca


I certainly agree with the last paragraph of this, but don't see that it is in any way an argument against the Northern Junk/Reliance proposal.

While I seem to disagree with Councillor Isitt on this (and probably lots of other issues!), he is to be thanked and complimented for his willingness to communicate through Vibrant Victoria.

#92 dasmo

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:06 AM

We are beyond restoring the natural shoreline in Vic. We need to support creating a great Urban environment instead. Save the actual natural areas we have left. Like Sandcut Beach and the Pot Holes (thanks TLC). Having more density and making a world class city can perhaps help even reduce urban sprawl.
I think the proposal of the walkway is way better than a rocky outcrop. let's connect the harbour walkway!

#93 Sparky

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

Welcome to Vibrant Victoria dasmo.

#94 Mike K.

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 12:48 PM

While I seem to disagree with Councillor Isitt on this (and probably lots of other issues!), he is to be thanked and complimented for his willingness to communicate through Vibrant Victoria.


Agreed. The conversations on here can get quite candid and it's nice to see a councillor willing to converse with individuals on both ends of the spectrum and not just surround him or herself with supporters or a captive and docile audience.

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#95 G-Man

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 04:28 PM

^ +1 to this. I too while disagree with some of what Coun. Isitt says here think that is great that he is willing to engage on specific questions posed to him.

I also think the idea for a Midtown Plan is an excellent one and would happily and vocally support it and would like to participate in the crafting! There is a great opportunity in that area for significant social housing and lower cost market housing. Also while increasing the housing it may push some of the autocentricness of the area out. Look forward to hearing more about this.

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#96 renthefinn

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:43 PM

Although I like the idea of additional development in the Northern part of Downtown, I don't think other areas of downtown should be "off limits" to development. We should be encouraging additional density in many if not even all parts of downtown.

 



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