Victoria mayor: Candidate profiles and positions

We asked candidates to fill out a questionnaire about their background and their positions on some issues facing their communities.

Here are their answers, as submitted by them. The answers are split into two sections: information about the candidates, and their views on issues facing the community.

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Candidates

There are 10 people running for mayor:

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Saul Andersen, 49

Taxi owner/operator

Previous elected and/or community experience.

I've been engaged in my community at a grassroots level for 20+ years as a cab-driver, during which time I've spoken with people from all walks of life and seen the importance of supporting local businesses and organizations. Also, I was involved with the creation of Camas Books and did a weekly volunteer shift there for 5 years, where I developed a more thorough understanding of progressive policy and social justice issues.

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

As a citizen, I feel like it's my civic duty to participate in our 'democracy'. Generally, politicians aren't speaking the language I want to hear; what motivates me is the desire to leave things better than I found them. Meanwhile, I have a BA in Political Economics and have owned a successful business for nearly 20 years so I have many ideas on how to improve the system, but most importantly I've learned to listen to diverse opinions in an effort to find common ground and solutions.

What are your top three issues?

Affordable housing! We need to reevaluate our building/zoning rules in order to facilitate sensible development and create more affordable living spaces. The Arts! 'Nuff said? And finally, I offer a VISION of and for Greater Victoria. For instance, there's amalgamation - definitely worth talking about. Food security? Harm reduction? How about a regional transportation strategy? Not to mention that after 20 years in a taxi, I can fix traffic!

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

I see Victoria continuing to grow and hopefully becoming a world leader in terms of its progressive policies around sustainability and social justice, and it's support for diversity in arts and culture.

What's one "big idea" you have for your community?

Vision and communication.

Rob Duncan, 55

Has unofficially withdrawn but will still appear on ballot

Previous elected and/or community experience.

My background is in academic social science. At present, I'm working in low barrier supported housing.

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

I have been a community activist in Victoria for some time. In the last municipal election, I ran for Mayor of Victoria in the character of Changes the Clown to draw attention to the crisis of child poverty, finishing fifth out of a field of eight.

I think the current Mayor and Council have been passive and neglectful regarding our community's housing crisis. For instance, four years ago, Victoria's rental vacancy rate was equivalent to zero; today, four years later, it's STILL equivalent to zero.

What are your top three issues?

Housing, democracy, and transportation.

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

I believe that over the long term, Victoria should emulate the housing strategies used in Vienna, Austria. In Vienna, 60 % of the population lives in social housing, not second-rate tenements or warehousing but integrated social housing with tenants of all income levels living side by side, all paying affordable rent equivalent to 30 % of their income.

What's one "big idea" you have for your community?

Fare-free buses going into downtown during morning rush hour and going out of downtown during afternoon rush hour, combined with (1) dedicated bus lanes on selected commuter routes, also going into downtown during morning rush hour and going out of downtown during afternoon rush hour, (2) a greatly expanded park-and-ride system, and (3) transit signal priority (which allows a bus approaching a green light to signal the light to stay green until the bus is through the intersection).
What's one "big idea" you have for your community.

Michael Geoghegan, 52

Government Relations Consultant (lobbyist)

Previous elected and/or community experience.

Michael Geoghegan worked for 7 years at the BC Legislature including 4.5 years as a Ministerial Assistant in the Harcourt government, he facilitated a cabinet sub committee, served 6 years on Langford's planning and zoning committee, and has 22 years experience as lobbyist: includes creation of First Nations Finance Authority which was based on the BC Municipal Finance Authority, self government for the Westbank First Nation and settlement of a specific land claim for the Okanagan Indian Band.

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

As someone who has lived and or worked his entire adult life in Victoria, I am alarmed at the poor decision making which is leading Victoria to become a city only of the very wealthy and very poor. I have a 22 year old son, 17 year old daughter and 12 year old daughter. If our children are to have any future in this region we have to get serious about building affordable housing. My background in the construction sector makes me the only candidate with the expertise to deliver on this.

What are your top three issues?

My top three issues are addressing the affordable housing and homeless crises that has gripped our region, fixing the bike lane fiasco by relocating bike lanes to secondary roads and synchronizing traffic lights so as to encourage more shoppers to come downtown and providing much greater fiscal accountability and transparency at both the City and the CRD so we can stop doubling municipal taxes every eight years.

What's one "big idea" you have for your community?

A city that encompasses both present day Victoria and Saanich and where there is sufficient housing for working people of all income ranges. Where our children can afford to not just work here but raise a family. An LRT line that connects the high density downtown with the high density areas of Westshore (ie an amalgamated Langford and Colwood) and a region that not only continues to attract tourists but is a hi tech mecca as well.

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

To get back to taking care of the fundamentals of running a city while making it a city that works for all of us. For example my idea for free annual recreation centre passes for kids 18 an under is one that has been copied by not one but two different municipal slates over in Surrey. Parking passes for contractors is something Calgary has, Victoria needs to do the same and finally replacing annual business licenses with a one time license as Langford has done is something I also support.

Stephen Hammond, 59

Lawyer/Professional Speaker

Previous elected and/or community experience.

I am actively involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, with my third "little," often asked to do media interviews and fundraisers. I have been involved with communities in need, including the Boards of Our Place and the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. I have been an active member and contributor to Amnesty International and the Tibetan Resettlement Project (sponsored a couple) and hosted a fundraiser for the Anne Frank Exhibit. I support financially every year to AI, BCSPCA, Big Brothers, Victoria Women’s Transition House, BC Civil Liberties and other charities.

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

I want to make the lives of Victorians better. I want a safer and cleaner city. I want to spend taxpayers’ money like it was my own and won’t treat people’s homes and businesses as the city’s ATM. I want to listen to specialists, but not at the exclusion of those affected. I want neighbourhoods to have a say in housing. I want to stop city policies that actually raise the price of land. I want to work with the province for real progress on affordable housing and real supports for the homeless.

What are your top three issues?

1. Restoring Public Trust. Too many Victorians believe decisions are made by a select few people. True consultation isn't having to scream bloody murder after a rushed decision is made.

2. Fiscal responsibility. We need an independent audit of the Johnson Bridge before the Crystal Pool becomes another boondoggle.

3. I want neighbourhoods to have an actual say in housing, and not feel they have to constantly fight over-development which changes the character of these neighbourhoods.

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

According to the City's Official Community Plan, in 25 years, about 30% of Victoria's population will be 65+. That's a huge demographic change. I want us to meet the needs of our actual population growth, as opposed to some fantasy. Without ignoring younger people, I want to ensure all Victorians feel safe and secure in our downtown. I want transportation that fits Victoria, not Amsterdam, or some other city we are choosing not to live in. I want people to feel proud of our livable city.

What's one "big idea" you have for your community?

I want more daycare for families. With the province working towards more affordable daycare, I'd love Victoria to be a city that gives parents a break. With so many financial pressures on young families, it just makes sense to allow both parents to work if that's their desire. A city has limitations, but that doesn't mean we can't work with builders, employers and agencies to help Victoria families with proper incentives. With our aging population, we should attract younger families.

Lisa Helps, 42

Mayor

Previous elected and/or community experience.

I’ve been Mayor for the past four years and was a city councillor for three years before that. Before being elected to Council I started and ran a non-profit society called Community Micro Lending, I served on the board of Fernwood NRG where we restored the Cornerstone Building, built affordable housing, opened a coffee shop and breathed life back into Fernwood Village. I have also served on various boards and participated in community organizations.

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

A large part of the first two years of this past term was spent cleaning up from the past. We had a bridge to finish, sewage treatment to get started, a seismically unsound firehall to replace, a downtown retail vacancy rate over 10%, no dedicated money for affordable housing, and a transportation system stuck in the 20th century. We’ve fixed all that. I’d like four more years to keep working on the key issues identified in the next question and to get the city ready for a sustainable future.

What are your top three issues?

I’ve worked with a wide cross section of the community since January to build a detailed plan for the next four years. We began by asking “What’s wrong in Victoria today?” and then developing comprehensive solutions to the problems. Through this process, Victorians have identified the top issues as affordability, well-being and prosperity and taking real action on climate change. We need to make life more affordable, keep our economy strong, and future-proof the city for a changing climate.

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

We live in a dense, compact city with people clustered along corridors, in village centres and downtown. We’ve stewarded our tree canopy and parks and open spaces to contribute to our quality of life. We live and work in buildings that are powered by renewable energy. We move about by affordable, efficient, electric public transit, and by walking, cycling, and electric cars. Our low-carbon economy is prosperous and no one was left behind in the energy transition. And we are all really happy!

What's one "big idea" you have for your community?

The big idea I have for our community is very small. It’s to make it easy for moveable tiny homes to be rolled into backyards across the city at rents of no more than $500 per month. A group of women in their 50s and 60s who are part of a tiny house movement on Vancouver Island came to me with the idea. They are close to retirement, don’t have big pensions, are building tiny homes and would like to live affordably in Victoria in their tiny homes. Let’s begin with a pilot project!

David Arthur Johnston, 47

Poverty avowed monk.

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

I'm married to this town, see the path it is taking, and know what a Charter violate Bylaw looks like.

What are your top three issues?

The debt, the imposed addiction epidemic, and the revitalization of nobility within the police department.

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

To have survived global financial collapse with ingenuity and innocence.

What's one "big idea" you have for your community?

Imagine 10,000 gardeners never having to pay rent again.

Bruce McGuigan, 59

Sociology professor at Vancouver Island University

Previous elected and/or community experience.

I began working with street kids shortly after graduating from high school in the late 1970s. I worked with organizations including North Shore Family Services, the District of Surrey and as a contractor to Intensive Child Care Resources, Province of British Columbia. I was a director and later president of the board of BC Families in Transition, which became Greater Victoria Family Services. I completed five years as Executive Director there this past June. I am the co-founder of Victoria Social Innovation Centre, the first permanent space for not-for-profit community agencies in the Victoria, which, in 2019, will open a trauma-informed daycare with extended hours to support shift working parents.

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

I decided to take responsibility instead of just complaining about problems I know I can fix. Victoria needs government that uses transparent decision making processes and reflects actual community input. Our recent history of poor decisions can be directly attributed to poor processes in governance and a lack of focus on the of issues of local government. We need to solve problems in Victoria – not take trade trips to China. Far too much happens in camera -a process that should be reserved for issues which represent risk to the City, not to bury contentious issues or create bodies that report at the sole discretion of the mayor.

What are your top three issues?

Transparent and representative governance Community and regional transportation planning Homelessness

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

"I want Victoria to be a town where people can raise families and save for their futures. I want a community where students, seniors and others live without fear of reno-viction. I want a community that truly embraces diversity of culture and socio-economic levels, and retains its heritage charm while being a place where innovation is the norm. I want city government that works effectively for -and with- its residents in addition to other levels of government, but demands fiscal responsibility a cornerstone of public policy. I want a Victoria for Victorians."

RyMo, 33

Manual Therapist and Patient Educator

Previous elected and/or community experience.

My experience with those who have been elected to represent our city is not the same that I experience every day in community. There is a large apathy of Mayor and Council to make meaningful connections outside of city hall. Victoria is a safe city, full of brilliant, loyal, and loving friends and family. It's time Mayor and Council recognize we want to come together, and just need more time in spaces and places creating collaborative conversations for consent based decision making.

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

A lack of innovation in meaningful engagement has turned our civic identity into a mixture of common complaints ( Bridge, Bike-lanes, Deer...), instead of celebrating the reasons why we choose to live here, together. The written and spoken language arts are only a fraction of the ways to convey conversation and ideas. When we start to explore less exhausted art mediums, we will find the connection with the, over 50% of silenced potential voters/contributing neighbours & information holders

What are your top three issues?

Meaningful consultation : times and spaces that draw significant numbers of participants, with follow through implementation of public input.

Collaborative conversations : creating safe space for discourse, exploration of ideas, and open information sharing.

Consent built decision making : Only "YES" means "YES" - silence is a failure, not a vote in favor of. Remembering both Equity and Equality in decision making.

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

A city where citizens are informed of the changes that are happening, because they were there when the conversation was happening. A more direct democracy to lead as an example for the rest of the world, instead of our typical late adoption and cumbersome implementation strategies. We are a world class city - it is time to step up to our potential, and step away from the colonial past.

What's one "big idea" you have for your community?

Each neighbourhood having our version of a west coast "Maison de la Culture" - access to books, art, health amenities, conversation spaces, *politicians ( council outside of city hall ).

Alexander Schmid, 54

Physics Laboratory Instructor

Previous elected and/or community experience.

On-campus Liaison for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

I am a problem solver by nature and training, and I feel that the people of Victoria want their city problems solved, not endlessly talked about. Victoria used to be a safe, comfortable and affordable place in which to live, and I believe that it can be that way again if we approach our problems with practical common sense instead of politics.

What are your top three issues?

1.Transparency in Government. All public business must be totally transparent, with a clear agenda and plenty of time and opportunity for public input. All issues affecting citizens in a major way are to be decided by referendum.

2. Transportation. We must bring back and enhance rail service as a way to alleviate traffic congestion.

3. Quality of life. For the growing problem of homelessness, I will advocate a federal intervention so that the problem is tackled simultaneously in all major cities. In the interim we must hire more workers to maintain general cleanliness and hygienic standards in public areas.

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

It may sound quaint, but I hope that Victoria will become again the safe, pleasant, and affordable city some of us remember. Some hard work will be required to achieve that aim, and I intend to do it as your mayor.

What's one "big idea" you have for your community?

This is not exactly my idea; it came from an attendee at the recent James Bay Mayoral Debate. It would address the childcare problem in a city where too often it takes two salaries to run a household. It was suggested that interested seniors in retirement communities be encouraged to volunteer their help in daycare centers, under the supervision of certified childcare workers.  It is a win-win-win-win option.  Children would get more supervision and (for some) the experience of having adoptive grandparents. Seniors would benefit in obvious ways, through a renewed sense of purpose. We, as a community, would benefit from happier children, more engaged seniors,less stressed parents, and more bang for the buck from the promised increased in childcare funding from the Province.

Krzysztof Zmuda

Businessman — small business owner and operator

Previous elected and/or community experience.

My community experience is that I have built up my business at several sites in Victoria. I have worked in Europe and in several cities in Canada. I work for a living and I pay taxes. This is the common experience that I share with most of the electorate. I am not compromised by any affiliation with organizations or political parties.

Why are you running? What's your motivation?

I am running for Mayor because I want to lead Victoria onto a new path of Common Sense Actions. First fix old problems. Secondly, attack immediate problems. Third, fix City Hall.

What are your top three issues?

1. Bike Lanes: Host a referendum.

2. Cannabis retailing: Get rid of it.

3. Infrastructure: Get started — redirect evaluation and planning on the big projects: the Johnson St Bridge, sewage treatment, and renovation of the Crystal Pool.

What's your vision for your community in 25 years?

"A vision of Victoria as a livable city for everyone — good public transportation, consistent and enforceable Bylaws, long-term planning for projects that can be achieved with provincial and federal support. This can be achieved by a sustained commitment toCommon Sense Actions"

Policy and positions

We asked candidates to share positions on some of key issues facing communities and how they hope to address them. Here are their answers, organized by topic.

Click on a link to jump to that section:

Amalgamation

Saul Andersen

This is something that we should be addressing... yesterday. Victoria, a city of 80000 or so, bears the brunt of the needs of a region of a half a million - someone needs to articulate a vision for the CRD that respects the needs of our very diverse municipalities, urban, rural and bedroom communities alike.

Rob Duncan

I believe amalgamation is logical and financial common sense.

Michael Geoghegan

Having a population within the CRD less than that of Burnaby split into 13 different municipalities is insane. A process has been started to move forward with regards to amalgamation of Victoria and Saanich. I support this initiative and I would like to see the matter put to a binding referendum no later than the end of my second term in office. I would not want to see amalgamation with Oak Bay until their serious infrastructure deficit issues are addressed.

Stephen Hammond

I agree with Amalgamation Yes that we need the province to fund a proper study to see if amalgamation makes sense. At first glance, it seems to make fiscal sense, but let's be sure.

Lisa Helps

I strongly support a Citizens Assembly to explore the costs, benefits, and disadvantages of the amalgamation of Victoria and Saanich. I hope that we get a “yes” from both on October 20th. On the face of it, having fewer municipalities makes sense and Saanich and Victoria would be a good place to start. But I want to see the evidence. I will be bound by the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly.

David Arthur Johnston

As it stands all the other municipalities should not fall under the authority of Victoria's tourism industry.

Bruce McGuigan

Victoria must amalgamate itself first. Neighbourhoods in Victoria don’t feel their views are represented at City Hall.?

RyMo

Requires defining services and amenities that would be shared or lost by each municipality ( eg. sidewalks, urban forest, policing) . Agreeing on a minimum number of citizens to consult to ensure changes are consensual. Acknowledging the proposed sacrifices and savings in whatever the final compromisation of "amalgamation" looks like. Putting the final product to a vote.

Alexander Schmid

I believe that amalgamation will be of great advantage to Victoria. It is a case where common sense trumps sentimental considerations, since the administrative savings would be considerable, allowing us to fund other urgent problems in our communities.

Krzysztof Zmuda

NOT NOW. We have enough problems of our own to solve first.

Transportation

Saul Andersen

Sensible cycling infrastructure! A transit strategy! Counter-flow lanes at rush hour! Reasonable parking enforcement! For example, you can get a ticket 3 minutes after your meter expires yet I REGULARLY see cars parked in the curb/tow lane on Quadra St throughout the posted times - this is not only annoying, it's dangerous and unnecessary!

Rob Duncan

I'm in favour of experimenting with the bus system to make it more appealing to commuters, in order to reduce the amount of cars used for commuting. Given that not everyone can ride a bike but everyone, or almost everyone, can ride a bus, I believe the bus system holds far more potential to affect commuting habits than separated bike lanes.

Michael Geoghegan

As a result of the $15 million bike lane fiasco, traffic into the downtown core is down while congestion is up. I will fix this by relocating bike lanes to quieter secondary roads. The new bike lanes will also be much less obtrusive, much less expensive and much safer. Traffic lights will be synchronized and once there is sufficient density in both Victoria and Colwood I will lobby for LRT between Vic West and Westshore. I will also lobby for the Malahat bypass to be built.

Stephen Hammond

I want Victoria to be part of a transportation plan that makes sense and will actually make decisions, as opposed to just meeting and talking. I want to encourage people to find alternatives to being in single occupant cars by walking, cycling, car-sharing, car-pooling and transit. However, I want to stop the war on cars where parking is being removed at the expense of businesses and consumers. Victoria has an aging population, with many people relying on cars for many reasons.

Lisa Helps

"Transportation is a key regional issue. First priority for improvements to regional transportation is bus rapid transit from downtown to Langford. With the current plan, a bus commute from Colwood to downtown will be 30 minutes faster! There’s more to do. The South Island Prosperity Project’s response to Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge will hopefully receive $10 million to make integrated mobility (car-share, bike-share, biking, walking, transit, driving) available, convenient and affordable. "

David Arthur Johnston

Make the default bus ticket a $5.00 Day Pass. No new bike lanes. Finish all current road work with the mentality that new projects will be rare.

Bruce McGuigan

We need a regional transportation strategy developed with the CRD and the Province.

RyMo

"A culture shift where we resolve the single car (9-5, in&out) commuter, from neighbouring municipalities, from impacting our air quality, access to shops and services, and burdening the city with increasing maintenance costs.

Advocate for priority lanes for mass transit.

Reduce signage to a agreed upon speed limit and Left turn procedure, instead of the street by street case we have now.

Rename the Johnson St. Bridge, to The RyMo Pleasurefare crossing ( just jokes, ha!)"

Alexander Schmid

A high priority. The option of rail service as a means to alleviate road traffic congestion should be pursued more vigorously, in cooperation with other municipalities sharing the line.

Krzysztof Zmuda

Affordability

Saul Andersen

How about a rent freeze? And we should collect a per night fee from Airbnb users and direct that money towards affordable housing and community living projects. \

Rob Duncan

I believe affordability and availability of housing is the primary problem facing our community at present, and has been neglected by all levels of government for a long time.

Michael Geoghegan

By rescinding the Step Code and getting much more timely decision making we can reduce the cost of all new housing by $150,000 per unit. With density bonusing and use of vacant city land we can also leverage more in the way of low income units being built. I will lobby the province to build 5,000 units of student housing at UVic and Camosun thus freeing up 5,000 units of rental accommodation for everyone else. I will also make the building of affordable family housing a top priority.

Stephen Hammond

Victoria doesn't have a housing problem. It has an affordable housing problem. Through this council's rezoning process, they are literally inflating the price of land, driving up the cost of all homes. Just building properties out of reach of most Victorians won't drive down the price of rentals and condos. This city has missed out on millions in CACs (community amenity contributions) allowing all Victorians to share in the building boom and help with affordable housing. That has to change.

Lisa Helps

Young families and seniors are worried about not being able to afford to stay in Victoria. This should deeply concern us all. Affordability is more than the cost of housing. For decades we’ve let the cost of housing, childcare, and transportation rise far beyond incomes. I will continue to tackle these issues head-on. Tinkering with affordability won’t work. Bold action is required.

David Arthur Johnston

Assess City assets so as to offer means and opportunity to offset the cost of living.

Bruce McGuigan

Trickle-down economics doesn’t work for housing. City Hall must demand the effective participation of other levels of government.

RyMo

Introduce health standards, to combat the old&cold with mold rental stock in Victoria. Bringing the standard of living up to where the costs are, and then watch the ripple effect of empowered people upon our local and global market places - and provide support as needed to close cost of living gaps.

Alexander Schmid

Victoria is undeniably expensive, but this may be a problem for which there are no sweeping solutions. As mayor I would consult with Council and ordinary citizens to see if ways can be found to alleviate the problem.

Krzysztof Zmuda

Homelessness

Saul Andersen

Tent cities aren't the answer, but neither is increased policing (or more questionable bylaws). Housing/zoning/land use reforms are necessary, but the process needs to be informed, if not led, by those directly involved so that we might more adequately meet the needs of the street-involved community.

Rob Duncan

The United Nations tells us housing is a human right. Victoria needs to elect a Mayor and Council who will make it a top priority to seriously address the ongoing human rights violation that is homelessness in our community. The short-term solution involves finding locations for installing the modular mobile housing that the Province has been promoting. I have a long list of potential sites on my website.

Michael Geoghegan

The most cost effective way to deal with the homeless is to provide basic housing. Playing whack a mole with the homeless is more expensive, much more cruel and ultimately futile. I will lobby both the province and the federal government to provide low income housing not just in Victoria but throughout the region and including local First Nations. Those with serious mental and physical health issues also need to be given proper treatment.

Stephen Hammond

I have spoken for years about the need for our province to stop cutting desperately needed services to persons with addictions and mental health issues. Tent cities are a result of this neglect, however a tent city is a magnet for the worst of criminals, preying on those inside and making communities dangerous. Working with the province, I want real supports for our most vulnerable and real progress because the goal of "ending homelessness by 2018" is clearly not working.

Lisa Helps

With with regard to the question about tent cities - displacing people doesn’t work. Tent cities aren’t great and are a national shame in a country as prosperous as Canada. But what we saw in Victoria was a court ruling that the Province had to provide housing to people before the tent city could be shut down. Almost all of the people who were housed directly from the tent city are still housed. Housing is not enough. Adequate mental health and addictions support is also necessary.

David Arthur Johnston

There is an 'embraced naivety' in this town that delusionally, and commonly, pretends acting rich attracts affluence even though we are poorer than poor. The result is a social engineered addiction epidemic that is masking an internal refugee crisis from potential investors.

Bruce McGuigan

Victoria has done more than its share to fix this regional problem. We can’t solve it alone.

RyMo

I will put the fear of RyMo into Provincial and Federal representatives that think they can neglect the needs of those impacted by homelessness. We need to be included in creating a National Housing Strategy, we need the Province to do better than legislating rights around tents in parks. We need a network of support from all levels of government.

Alexander Schmid

The problem of homelessness can only be solved with national funding. The municipalities don't have the means or resources to adequately cope with it. As Mayor I would meet with my counterparts of other Canadian cities to petition the Federal Government for adequate support. Unless the problem is solved simultaneously in all Canadian cities, local communities will be tempted to be less welcoming in the hope that the problem migrates somewhere else. I would also petition the Province to restore funding for mental health institutions, to take care of the most vulnerable among us.

Krzysztof Zmuda

Years of neglect have created this dilemma of tent cities. Now, we need to attract federal and provincial funding to solve THEIR problem and provide alternative housing HERE.

Taxes

Saul Andersen

Taxes keep getting higher and the burden of the wider region falls on our fair (and fairly small) city... not a problem easily fixed which is why we need to start the discussion about our VISION for Greater Victoria.

Rob Duncan

As I don't see the funding for my policy initiatives as coming from municipal taxes by and large but instead from other levels of government, I see no reason that municipal taxes should need to be increased.

Michael Geoghegan

Municipal taxes in Victoria are doubling every eight years. Langford has proven that with proper fiscal management you can hold the line on taxes while greatly improving community infrastructure and services. The CRD has wasted $60 million of taxpayers dollars through its mishandling of the sewage project. With improved fiscal transparency and accountability I believe we can keep further tax increases to a minimum while improving services and amenities.

Stephen Hammond

Between 2012 and 2018 the cumulative Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased 9.3% while Victoria's cumulative property taxes have increased 22.4% This mayor and council have been using your homes and businesses as the City's ATMs, with no limit on what can be withdrawn. My NewCouncil.ca team has pledged to raise taxes no higher than the rate of inflation, at the most. Victorians, whether you own or rent, pay for these taxes and it eats into the livability of this city. That has to stop.

Lisa Helps

Taxes are a key driver of affordability. Over the past four years we have had the lowest tax increases in the past 10 years. Of every tax dollar that people pay, local governments receive only 8 cents. That is not enough to deal with the challenges that are downloaded to us, like the effects of homelessness, mental health and addictions, cannabis legalization, and greater requirements on police from higher levels of government. We will take a more creative approach to keep taxes increases low.

David Arthur Johnston

Had a tiered and customizable 'bridge debt' tax plan but am excluding it as of learning of the looming CRD tax.

Bruce McGuigan

Municipal taxpayers cannot fund failures by other levels of government.

RyMo

Taxes need to reflect current maintenance (boring, I know), as well as continue to propagate services and amenities that will serve us into the future. If our spending strategy is merely less taxes = better, we'll have another realm of neglected maintenance ( bridge ), and be passing a larger cost into the future. We need to think ten years and twenty years from now. What will the young people of today, be given to succeed as adults, and stay in Victoria.

Alexander Schmid

This may be an unpopular view, but when a community is dealing with the kind of challenges Victoria faces, one must do what is needed, including increasing tax revenue. I believe that Victorians resent the waste of public funds, like in the spectacular case of the Johnson Street bridge. They will not begrudge a reasonable increase in taxes to address the most urgent problems of our community. With the transparent administration I will run, every tax dollar will be accounted for.

Krzysztof Zmuda

We need to use common sense to make good judgments and apply the revenues that we already have.

Candidate's choice

Saul Andersen

There are many, such as food security (how about boulevard and/or schoolyard farming?); drought (how about rainwater collection?); harm reduction (saves lives, makes communities safer, and reduces policing costs & risks).

Rob Duncan

Separated bike lanes are certainly an important investment in the future, but when they cost $2.7M per km, we need to be sure we're getting it right the first time around. There are a number of important safety problems and design flaws with the separated bike lanes that have been installed so far, and I think we need a moratorium on further separated bike lane construction while these problems are given further consideration, before we go ahead with more.

Michael Geoghegan

Lack of consultation has been a major issue and has led to major mistakes eg the bike lane fiasco and statue controversy. I will establish a Mayor’s advisory council which will include representation from various groups including the small business and construction sectors. The implementation of a municipal dashboard on the City of Victoria website will make it easier for citizens to keep track of important issues and how their Mayor and Council voted on these issues.

Stephen Hammond

Laws applying to everyone. This last winter, when we couldn't keep up with shoveling the sidewalk in front of our house (it was coming down fast) we were issued a warning by the city. Fair enough. However, there seems to be a desire to let some people avoid responsibility and the laws when they choose to break them. When that happens, people ask themselves why they are obeying the laws when others don't have to. When given the opportunity, people will respect our laws and abide by them. I don't think that's asking too much.

Lisa Helps

A key issue we need to work through as a community is restoring civility to public dialogue. In order to meet some of the big challenges facing Victoria and all other 21st century cities, we need to be able to talk about solutions with clear minds and open hearts. To solve the challenges facing us, we need to come together and create a stronger social fabric where our first impulse will be love, connection and understanding, even when – and especially when – this feels hard.

David Arthur Johnston

We've been pretending to be rich and it has cascaded into madness. If our indenture is going to be turned around it will have to start somewhere.

Bruce McGuigan

 

RyMo

Art to procure Civic Identity : We need to think beyond your friends Etsy page. Every dash and curve of black forms letters, into words, into meaning. We need art - to reflect on the past...to change the future. We need art as a tool to discover who Victoria is, and who it isn't. Are we just a small Vancouver? Are we happy? Are we able to succeed as individuals? Are we connected to community?

Alexander Schmid

 

Krzysztof Zmuda

First fix old problems: Use a referendum of residents to choose whether to scrap the illegal pot shops, and decide whether to keep the bike lanes; fix homelessness in the city by engaging federal and provincial funding for homeless shelters; challenge the cost of the Johnson Street bridge project.

Secondly, attack immediate problems: solve congestion in the city with more parking space, and the traffic snarl into the city with an express commuter bus system; just renovate Crystal Pool.

Third, fix City Hall: Freeze those big salaries and change the CRD directors; improve tenant rights by challenging landlords with a Bylaw; make Victoria safe again with police presence on the streets; really promote Centennial Square as an attractive center for diverse culture in our City.

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