Raised in a family that valued community and modelled service, I’ve been a volunteer since the age of 12. Slowing down a bit to run a business and raise my family, in the last 5 years I’ve returned to community work with a passion! Check out some of the organizations I’m currently significantly involved with below:
The full Saanich Council is composed of nine individuals and sometimes, nine perspectives on an issue! No one Council member alone can bring change or move initiatives forward (regardless of passionate campaign promises) unless they’re also capable of careful and productive listening as well as working collaboratively, respectfully and productively with eight other individuals. This is where experience and character matters more than intentions or ideals.
A candidate with good understanding of the municipal governance model and the role of staff, Community Associations and the Advisory Committee framework can contribute efficiently and effectively to sound decision making around the Council table. An ability to connect the dots and clearly identify key issues in complex problems is invaluable. A calm and respectful personality helps inspire the kind of co-operation that’s essential to moving forward.
These are qualities I bring as a Saanich Council candidate.
Housing and Transportation: The Official Community Plan (OCP) remains a very forward thinking document. The Local Area Plans (LAP), which provide greater detail on neighbourhood planning, need review to adjust objectives to current reality. Council may need additional ‘tools in the toolbox’ in order to more strongly encourage appropriate development and set standards for Community Amenity Contributions for additional density permitted. There is urgent need for Council, Planning, developers and the community to work together on a Housing Strategy to provide housing for all income levels.
Transportation and housing issues are linked and neighbourhood input is critical. One of the ‘tools’ Council may consider are ways of promoting greater and more specific collaboration between Engineering, Planning and Community Associations, which play a vital but currently inconsistent role.
EDPA: This bylaw works successfully in other districts; its intent is as a development permit (not a development prohibition) designed to protect areas of ‘highest biodiversity’ and to restore areas which may have received damage during development. Terms need defining and implementation standardized; it may also benefit from fresh oversight. Though some candidates insist otherwise, as a development permit, it’s pointless to require it apply to Saanich’s parks unless those parks are facing development. Also as a development permit, it doesn’t apply to areas of significant biodiversity which currently are left with no protection.
AMALGAMATION: Presently municipalities have decision making power; the CRD manages co-operative agreements. If it sees no benefit in an action, a municipality has little incentive to move on it. Some issues do require regional authority and this can be set up independent of amalgamation. According to a recent review, most residents are happy with their municipality’s governance; to eliminate that in favour of empowering a CRD-like structure might prove counterproductive.
That said, if amalgamation is pursued, each municipality’s residents must first agree who they want to amalgamate with, and such a union must be welcomed by the intended ‘other(s)’. These questions need to be asked and answered in a non-binding referendum, followed by a full study and a binding decision.
MISINFORMATION: This abounds in candidate promises. No Council member (not even the Mayor) can hire or fire anyone, ‘clean house’, balance the budget or manage any staff - including the Bylaw office or Planning department. While it may be tempting to ‘shake things up’ by voting for a particular candidate, please consider carefully. A candidate who has proven experience in how the system works (because they’ve been actively involved IN community issues) holds a valuable focus. And in the end, we want each of those 9 votes on Council to be able to work together to MOVE SAANICH FORWARD.