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Letters, Feb. 23: Emily Carr House, amalgamation

Thanks to Jan Ross for Emily Carr work Kudos to Jan Ross for making Emily Carr House one of our city treasures. She maintained a piece of our history and created wonderful exhibits over the years.
Sculptor Joe Fafard of Regina stands beside his piece 'Emily 1904' at Emily Carr House. A letter-writer notes Fafard's sculptures as some of the many joys to be found at Emily Carr House.

Thanks to Jan Ross for Emily Carr work

Kudos to Jan Ross for making Emily Carr House one of our city treasures.

She maintained a piece of our history and created wonderful exhibits over the years. It has truly been a gift to locals and visitors alike.

Who can forget the fabulous Joe Fafard sculptures on the lawn?

Emily Carr is a Victoria treasure and we sometimes take for granted what we see around us.

If not for Jan’s dedicated work over many years, we would not have this cherished piece of our history.

Good luck to her and the future administration.

Janna Ginsberg Bleviss

Oak Bay

‘No’ to amalgamating with Victoria

Re: “Amalgamate now, get some fresh blood,” letter, Feb. 5.

Only the citizens of Victoria can get rid of their mayor and council in their municipal election. As a lifelong citizen of Saanich, I would never vote to amalgamate with Victoria and all its problems.

Mike Wilson


The voters have spoken: Amalgamate

It’s somewhat ironic that Premier John Horgan had choice words for Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt when it is the premier who extends Isitt the ability to exist in his current capacity.

Like his predecessor’s administration, Horgan’s government refuses to respect the will of the people at the ballot box for a regional amalgamation review.

Using Esquimalt as just one example, more than 70 per cent of that community voted at the ballot box for an amalgamation review. The mayor, like other mayors, then wrote the province asking the then Liberals to respect the will of the people for such a review.

It remains shocking from a national context to see Esquimalt voters, as well as those in other municipalities, simply have their local governance vote aspirations ignored by the Horgan NDP.

Anywhere else the provincial role is to determine funding participation, not taking democracy out of the hands of people and doing nothing.

John Vickers

Miramichi, N.B.

Elect councillors in a ward system

Victoria city council has lost much respect from its citizens over the past few years.

Recently, it was publicized that four councillors do not live in the city and, therefore, are not affected by such things as tax rates and zoning changes.

The slogan used in the U.S. War of Independence was “no taxation without representation,” which seems to be the situation in Victoria today.

At the same time, we should adopt a ward system so that all areas of the city can be properly represented in council. The councillors must live in their ward so that they can have a proper appreciation of the ward’s problems.

Kenneth Mintz


When councillors behave badly

Re: “Victoria councillors at legislature protest weren’t representing city, mayor says,” Feb. 12.

Taxpayers often wonder about remedies when councillors or a mayor behave badly.

There are tools available to address or prevent less-than-responsible conduct by locally elected officials, including education and training, legislation, legislated offices and the courts.

The province has created a dedicated webpage: Responsible Conduct of Locally Elected Officials. The province also prepared a code of conduct for councils and a guide to help develop one.

In 2013, despite the recommendation from the city auditor, Victoria council rejected the mayor’s proposed code of conduct. It would have provided some baby teeth to hold a misbehaving councillor or mayor to account.

In Saanich, for example, any alleged breach goes to the mayor and chief administrative officer in writing. If they can’t resolve the matter informally, or if it involves the mayor, it goes to an agreed-upon independent third-party. The investigator has powers that include recommending an apology, counselling or public censure.

When a local government faces issues related to less-than-responsible conduct, it may affect the local government’s ability to provide good governance to their community, so says the province. If the province truly believes that, then it’s time to add some adult teeth and bring in an “enforcement model.”

Given the actions of Victoria council in recent months, a code similar to Saanich, Vancouver, Prince George and other communities should again be considered. The magniloquent declaration of principles and values in the strategic plan are inadequate.

A council code of conduct with enforcement would not only improve governance, but bolster the credibility of council.

Stan Bartlett, chair

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria

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