Sunday, September 25, 2011

Victoria looks to Saanich for help meeting carbon-neutral deadline

Victoria needs Saanich to help with meeting a carbon-neutral deadline.

Mayor Fortin is quoted as saying “Why wouldn’t we be doing what Saanich does?

This says it all.

Mayors want a review of Transit

We have poor communication between BC Transit management and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission.

One suggestion by Mayor Leonard is to put the control of transit in the hands of the CRD.

There are concerns that BC Transit is spending money locally on land without local input and spending money on expensive reports for Greater Victoria.

I would suggest that an amalgamated city would simply take over and provide its own Transit system, just like Winnipeg Transit, and then there would be no communication issues and any spending would be directly controlled and be the responsibility of the people we elect to counsel.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We need a Police Department for All

The Times Colonist editorial of September 20, 2011 says that the correct decision for the provincial government to make is to require Esquimalt to continue a contract for Policing with the City of Victoria and not allow them to switch to the RCMP.

Brilliant, but really, does the province not see that the mere fact they have to look at this issue is reflective of a fundamental flaw in the governance of our Capital?

What the Province should do is say thank you to Esquimalt. This issue is reflective of what will be an ongoing problem, as it will certainly arise again. No matter the answer, Esquimalt may one day say we would like to go with Saanich, or back to Victoria, or whatever.

There should be no choice beyond improving their own, regional police force.

How is it that we have a regional water system and not a regional police force?

We all have the same concerns over water and safety. No area can say they have a different level of overall concern for policing than any other area.

We all want safe drinking water, delivered to us at a reasonable price.

If that water is maliciously tainted, we all want the perpetrators brought to justice and punished in a coordinated and effective manner. Right now we would have to sort out first where the water was tainted, then where the people who did it lived, and then perhaps where the water went. Sounds like another joint committee of policing.

I really do not want to entrust the safety of my family to a committee, which reports to 13 different governments, and has no clear leadership.

Of all the issues that municipal governments deal with, policing is one of the most important. For policing to be effective, good leadership is critical. I will assume this based on the fact that for a few thousand years now human society has clearly implemented a leadership based police/military structure, which while not always perfect, seems to get the job done.

So why are we denied the benefits of a cohesive group of men and women, sworn to protect us no matter where we are in the community?

The province should make a decision and that must be to at least unify the core police departments.

For the record, I live in Saanich; have an office in Victoria, another in Langford and a business in Esquimalt. Some days I am in all four locations. They are all serviced by the same alarm company. They use to be “protected” by 4, now 3 different police departments. If the alarm company can deal with the whole area why can’t the police?

Highway 17 Joint Planning Committee

There is a committee with representatives from at least the Town of Sidney, Central Saanich and North Saanich. (There may be more, I am not sure) This committee makes recommendations to the Ministry of Transportation on issues of safety a safe way to cross Highway 17.

Their priority is a pedestrian overpass at Beacon Avenue. They have been working on this since 2009.

It’s good that they are working together. I also appreciate that the Province is always going to be involved when it comes to a highway.

But you have to think that a capital city, would look at its road safety issues, prioritize them for the sake of all its citizens and then implement the measures needed.

We would not have to strike committees from 3 different cities who then try to lobby the provincial government.

The Highway 17 Joint Planning Committee only exists because we have so many cities. A properly constituted municipal government would just deal with these issues in the best interests of all its citizens.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Victoria Police will be Marketing for a Regional Force

Victoria Police are pushing for a Regional Force. I am happy that the Victoria Police plan to market the problems that result from a lack of a regional force; I just worry that it will be perceived as self serving. The truth of what they say is clear. We would all be safer and better protected with a regional police force. The problem is that not everyone, politicians in particular, believe it. Those who can speak out will and they will simply say the source is biased.

It would be so very nice if any other police force would do this instead.

Garbage Collection

Nothing reminds us more about the purpose of municipal services than garbage collection.

So Victoria is now doing a survey of their residents to see what they want to do about it. Of course this also ties into recycling which is another form of garbage collection. Dean Fortin wants to get organics out of the waste stream.

In all of this Fortin is quoted as saying the biggest issue at the CRD is whether it is a private sector service of a public sector service. Seems we have both in our cities. Some people have backyard pick up some do not. There are different services in different areas.

This is not right. No one can convincingly say that the people of Saanich want something different than those in Colwood. There will be some in both areas who want what the other has. The reality is that we all live in the same area; we dump our waste in the same water and landfill. If we move five miles to a different house we should expect to get the same service we had before.
Whether it is private or public, there must be a cost savings to having the same service in the whole region. If not the whole region, at least the four core municipalities and the WestShore.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

5 years and a lot of money, wasted on traffic project

The Victoria Regional Transit Commission, the City of Victoria, the Municipality of Saanich, BC Transit, and the Ministry of Transportation, seem to have wasted up to $3 million. Five years ago they started a project to create priority for buses along Douglas Street. They spent money but then due to there being no one to coordinate between the players, what looks like a simple matter fell through the cracks.

The equipment that was installed is now useless and out of date. The money wasted. Now there is a “new group” with representatives from “all jurisdictions” working to make the plan work, with additional costs and after years of delay.

So, if we were amalgamated, we would have one city, and the Ministry of Transportation. Two organizations working on this project instead of five.
We would not need a Victoria Regional Transit Commission and BC Transit can just transfer their mandate to the City, which would be able to run the busses as is done in many other cities. Even if BC Transit were to remain, we would still cut down on the bureaucracy which clearly in this case lost us all a great deal of money and delayed for years something that was presumably of benefit to the region.