Saturday, October 24, 2009

Graffiti – The artists travel but the Police do not

In the core, there are graffiti police specialists for Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria. Each tracks the “art” and can tell if the same artist is involved in multiple tags. They keep their own data basis of information.

Their dream? A regional electronic graffiti database. Something the whole region could access so they could track vandalism in a timely manner and hopefully stop it.
This would not be a dream in an amalgamated city. There would be no hope that something might be done. No, there would be one data base as there would only be one police department.

So until common sense prevails, graffiti taggers can prolong their reign by rotating their tags through the municipalities. The taggers will not disappear with amalgamation, but we will be closer to a more effective ability to control them.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Major Infrastructure issues screwed up due to lack of amalgamation

Major infrastructure issues are potentially being screwed up due to a lack of amalgamation in the area.

The ongoing issues over sewage continue to cause significant unrest.
The CRD is trying to develop a plan for everyone, but as they are not elected they cannot make a decision in the best interests of all. As a result, Langford and Colwood will do something else on their own. The West Shore is frustrated with the way the CRD makes decisions.

The CRD points out there are complex regulations and statutes to be complied with. Meetings of the CRD are said to contain some “rancor”.

The city of Victoria plans to pursue the most expensive infrastructure program in its history, the replacement of the Blue Bridge at a huge cost.

The Blue Bridge is not simply “Victoria’s”. IT is an icon for the region. Look to the north from the legislature and the Blue Bridge is the most identifiable and interesting landmark you can see. It is as much a reflection of the capital as the legislature or the Empress.

The Bridge also allows for access to Esquimalt and to a lesser extent, other points west. The idea of making it a toll bridge is great until one realizes that it will just punish downtown businesses.

The Bridge is a regional facility, which benefits the region. The region should be part of the decision making on what is to occur and help carry the cost.
Should be move the decision process to the CRD then? Given the sewage problems, clearly not.

In one case we have a regional issue that the region cannot work together on.

In the other case we have a regional issue that no one else is allowed to work on.

Both issues point to the urgent need to amalgamate our city so the best decisions for the benefit of us all can be sought and implemented.

Victoria's Regional Crime Team (does not include Victoria!)

The police in Victoria and the West Shore are no longer part of a Regional Crime Team. They cite costs as the main issue.

It is not necessary to outline how criminals view Victoria as we all do, one city. Breaking into a home in Victoria and then in Saanich can occur without any thought as to the border at all. However issues like this make Greater Victoria just that much better a place for criminals. We are a mecca for professionals, retirees and of course criminals. Given that it is just a little bit easier here than in say Calgary, to break up the locations where you commit crime so that you might not be caught as easily has to make Victoria a little more attractive to the criminal element.

An amalgamated city would not have these issues. We would not need a “Regional Crime Unit”. The police would do their job, communicate among themselves, as most of us do in any organization and get the job done.

We pay a heavy price for the privilege to have so many governments in our small area and it just got heavier.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Petition at

The web site has been around for a couple of years now. It was created to generate support for amalgamation in advance of upcoming municipal elections. The web site has not been updated for some time but that will likely change in the near future.

One key part of the web site is a petition calling for the provincial government to move toward "less and better government" in the CRD.

The petition is well worded in that it wisely avoids a call for mandatory amalgamation of the entire region. Here is an excerpt:

"The Provincial Government has confirmed that they will only act on the issue of amalgamation once asked to do so by the citizens of the region.

There appears to be strong support in general for some form of amalgamation in the lower island, however there are different views on what is the best outcome. Some people favour one city, others prefer three (Sidney, Victoria and Colwood), or other variations yet.

The goal is to ensure the Provincial Government takes some steps towards improving the way the area is governed. If a specific result were to be dictated now, it could easily get sidetracked by arguments that it is not the best way to proceed.

The demand to the Provincial Government is not that they immediately create one city, rather that they take the steps needed to choose and implement a better organization of the municipalities."

Please take two minutes of your time and sign this important document.