Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oak Bay has no services for the homeless - and does not appear to contribute any assistance either

Jody Paterson made an interesting comment about a fellow who was banished from the City of Victoria by the court. He had to live in Oak Bay for 10 days, which was difficult as there was no access to food or shelter.

Oak Bay has no services or supports for the homeless. The Oak Bay police were perplexed, as they could not even take him to the drunk tank as they do not have one and use Victoria’s.

So what struck me about this was not the fact of the order being made, which is another issue. But May Causton's comment that “we do not have any services, referring to people like the fellow affected. So how is it that Oak Bay gets away with this? There is no question that some of its residents become homeless (sometimes youth who chose to do so). There is also no question that they use the services of other municipalities, for gas, transportation, work opportunities, shopping, entertainment and supplemental policing.

So how is it they do not contribute to homeless services? Now, I have not researched this and perhaps they will claim they do contribute to homeless services somehow. Being pessimistic, I doubt they do, or if they do, that they do so adequately. I would think that Mayor Causton, if Oak Bay did contribute, would have said, “the court is excluding this fellow from the services we provide, as we provide them downtown.”

The fact is that the homeless issue is regional and no mayor should ever say we do not services. Our “one” mayor should say the services we provide are in such a place and the court should not exclude people from those services.

If we are not going to have a regional city or two, then Oak Bay instead of clearly pushing the burden on its neigbours, should be helping the homeless as well. How can Victoria’s mandate to try and address homelessness ever be successful without the assistance of all of us? And if homelessness is an issue, which should be addressed, why would it have to be separately considered by each municipality?

Should not a unified city, if it thinks the issue should be addressed, do so, in an effective way, without the additional politics of trying to get the neighbours to buy in? Certainly at the first instance the counselors, representing their constituents in a unified city would debate the issue and decide if they would do anything. But once that is done then lets deal with it. Does that not make sense?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Saanich should not consider the concerns of View Royal Residents on issues involving the use of land in Saanich – which is a problem

Saanich mayor finds that a public hearing on the sale of liquor at Highlands Pacific golf course will “be interesting”.

This is because all the neighbors who will care about this and perhaps object live in View Royal. In fact you can only get to the golf course by going through View Royal.

If there are concerns raised by View Royal residents, the chances of them being addressed are close to nil. Why would Saanich care? If it is good for a municipal business, which pays taxes to the city, and there is no down side to the city, which collects that tax, they must reasonably allow whatever is asked for.

The impact on residents in another city should not be a concern. This is true…except for the fact that we all live so close together that we are one city in fact, just not on paper.

So while Saanich should listen and possibly accept the concerns of those outside the city, given our current setup, counsel should not listen to those concerns. To do so would be contrary to their obligation to do what is best for the residents of Saanich.

Right now, they should ignore the residents of View Royal.

However this is not the result that is best for our “City”. The best result is for Saanich and View Royal to be amalgamated, and then there would be an obligation to do what is best for the whole city, which includes everyone who is affected.

View Royal Resident needs Esquimalt to act, in order to minimise problems created by Saanich

Saanich is proceeding to replace the wooden bridge on Admirals Road. To do so they will close the bride to all but local traffic.

The sad part of this is that the people concerned about how the potential problems are being addressed live in View Royal. It is View Royal residents that use the bridge daily. A suggestion has been made, that to alleviate the resulting problems with diverted traffic, the lights at Craigflower and Tillicum could be improved with a left-turn signal.
However that intersection is in Esquimalt.

Saanich plans to “pass on the concerns” to Esquimalt.

So here we have one bridge being closed in Saanich, which significantly affects those in View Royal, but which needs Esquimalt to spend money to assist in minimizing the resulting problems.

Right now the citizens in View Royal have no right to say or do anything about the situation. Esquimalt has no obligation to do anything and likely will not. Saanich can proceed and ignore the effect of the closure on anyone outside of the municipality.

Clearly this is a situation, which would be best addressed by one city dealing with the issue in a unified way.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Esquimalt may have their sewage flow West rather than with the rest of the CRD

Esquimalt politicians have suggested that if the West Shore comes up with a better sewer treatment idea than the rest of the CRD, they may just join in with them.

Now I wonder what happens if View Royal sticks with the CRD? Would Esquimalt pump the sewage across the harbour to be treated?

How can politicians really think this way?

The reality is that the issue of sewage, transportation, water, etc. are so fundamentally a joint concern of us all, that to have pockets going off on their own makes no long term sense.

Given the geography of the area and the impact of the waterways, it may well make sense to have differences in defined areas such as the West Shore. I have no idea. But what I do believe, is that the sewage issue should be resolved by one, or maybe three entities with control to ensure that the best possible outcome if found for the next 50 to 100 years.

Can thirteen different municipalities come up with their own unique solutions? Is that good for the region? Are three different solutions ok? Or should there be a common vision that looks at what is best for all of us?

Cars must stop at municipal boarders

We now have the start of what could become a boarder patrol. I am kidding, but it is the logical result of the way we are heading.

Saanich has voted to not let electric cars (slower ones anyway) be used on the street. However, they are legal in Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Colwood. So as I drive my electric car up Tillicum, I must stop at the Gorge Bridge. Oak Bay residents will not be as lucky to have such a defined boarder stop. They will have to just know when to hit the breaks and not go any further down the street once they hit an invisible line.

This shows again the silliness of having multiple jurisdictions in such a small area. The CRD even went to the effort of spending our money and resources, to draft a suggested bylaw for the local municipalities to pass. Some did some did not. Why do we have the CRD doing work that may or may not be used by municipalities?

If a car is legal in a couple of areas, it has to be legal in all. Any other result is simply unacceptable to all of us who live here together.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Re-shaping the map of Greater Victoria

Frank Stanford commented that “we are experiencing a historic re-shaping of the map of Greater Victoria...and we hope we have not misplaced our faith in our politicians and bureaucrats to get it right.

He was addressing the increase in various high-rise developments, downtown and in Saanich, which help save parkland and improve overall planning and society costs.

His point is correct and if we are serious as a region to have planned areas of high density along with parks, which most of us are, then such planned development is most likely going to occur with an amalgamated region.

Think about it. Who would want to ensure there is parkland in which to hike and explore, which is close to home, more than the residents of Victoria? No one. The Highlands residents could say they can handle more development which would give those few residents a greater tax base, because other parkland is so close to them in the west. Yet that land just becomes further and further away for the majority of the area's population.

If you want to maintain parks, make sure the people of the region have a say in it, not just the few in an area who might benefit from reduced taxed with more development.

If you want to improve the cultural facilities of the region, with a new concert hall, stadium, theatre, ask everyone in the area to consider the issue, as those who attend will come from all over.

Long term planning for a community cannot be successfully done by thirteen different blocks going in their own direction.

It is naive to think that the interests of the West Shore are significantly different than the core. We all move freely and regularly among the cities and what happens in one area affects us all. Many of us live, work and recreate in different municipalities every week.

The reality is that without amalgamation, the chances that our 91 municipal representatives, will never get it right.