My priorities as your candidate:

My Story and Vision

I am running for city council because I love this town and I think it can become an even better place to live. My wife, Hannah, and I moved to Victoria in 2012 because we were looking for a great place to settle and raise our children. We love living in Fernwood, which has a strong neighbourhood identity, where we have easy access to downtown, neighbourhood schools, and essential services.

Since we've moved to Victoria, it has become a less and less affordable city, and in many ways a less livable city. The city is beset by worsening mental health challenges, an opioid crisis, the climate crisis, and a tragic lack of housing units, from social housing and affordable rental units to entry-level market housing. Some of our favourite restaurants and music venues have closed. The pandemic took a toll on the downtown core, small businesses, and the marginally housed, as shelters were forced to close and move to half capacity. In many ways, Victoria is in need of a grand revival, which can be accomplished only with bold leadership and a new vision of collective wellbeing.

My vision is that Victoria can become the most livable, vibrant, safe, and dynamic small city in North America -- a beacon of forward-thinking solutions to inspire urban revival the world over. What that means, in practice, is finding new ways to drive affordability, shelter the unhoused, demonstrate innovative climate leadership, and revive a flagging economy.

My platform includes detailed ideas about how to achieve these goals.  

My Commitments to You

My campaign is built on respect for the lands, history, and culture of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, today known as the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations. I commit to contributing in tangible ways to the process of reconciliation. In my campaign, I will act with honesty, accountability, and integrity. I commit to running a positive campaign that builds consensus and inspires local citizens to make substantive change in their community. I will listen to the will and interests of local citizens and respect the diversity of viewpoints, genders, ethnicities, systems of belief, and ways of being that define this city. During the campaign, I will engage in deliberative democracy. I commit to making Vitoria a more welcoming and inclusive place. 

Four Key Areas of Focus

1. Solve Victoria's Housing and Affordability Crisis

  • Increase supply of both social and market housing

  • Use funds from density bonusing to increase affordability and house people displaced by new housing developments

  • Gentle densification of residential areas, rather than more skyscrapers in downtown

  • Use Cook Street Village and Fernwood Square as models for development

 

2. Shelter Every Unsheltered Person in Victoria

  • The municipality has the ability to shelter the ~150 people sleeping rough in Victoria

  • Using Conestoga huts, modular units, and/or shipping containers, build 5-6 additional tiny home villages in the CRD, on public-owned hardscapes, as medium-term sheltering solutions for those awaiting transition to social housing

  • Provide security, washrooms, and support services to tiny home villages

  • Hire ~25 unhoused Victorians to work as street cleaners to help clean up Pandora Street and the downtown core 

     

     

3. Reduce Victoria’s GHG Emissions and Prepare for a Changing Climate 

  • Apply a ‘climate lens’ and ‘donut economics’ to all city-level decisions

  • Ban new natural gas hookups to houses by 2025 (exception: cooking ranges and ornamental fireplaces)

  • Work with neighbourhoods to speed up rate of home oil tank removals

  • Drastically reduce emissions from waste and home deconstruction

  • Increase Victoria’s urban canopy and urban agriculture (soil building as carbon sink)

  • Lobby the Federal government to better regulate cargo ships and cruise ships

  • Bring shore power to Ogden Point for cruise ships and pressure the industry to decarbonize

  • Conserve and enhance Victoria’s ecosystem services and natural assets to better work with nature in adapting to a changing climate

 

4. Support Victoria’s Economy, Increase Livability, and Revive the Downtown Core

  • Transform Victoria into the most sustainable and desirable small city in North America

  • Revive downtown by creating new cultural amenities, including a new downtown pier, public street spaces, and a new public library

  • Use city budget to support small business revival, for instance by reducing or waiving property taxes for key cultural amenities 

  • Prioritize ending of the opioid crisis via harm reduction strategies and drug decriminalization

  • Ensure that all parts of Victoria are accessible via short and safe trips using multiple modes of transportation

  • Build better infrastructure for e-bikes and lay groundwork for regional light rail

  • Improve parks for families and build new amenities, such as disk golf courses

  • Prioritize Indigenous reconciliation at the municipal level and build on the City Family

 

 

Full Platform: Details

 

As a city councillor, I will support all of the following:

 

Affordable Housing

 

  • Create more affordable, densified, and integrated housing to solve the housing crisis in Victoria

  • Support gentle densification of residential areas rather than building skyscrapers; development must fit within the scale and character of Victoria

  • Enable the construction of both market and social housing

  • Increase the number of affordable, below-market, and social housing units in the city by 2,000 units over the next 2.5 years

  • Fully eliminate the housing gap (4,500 units) by the end of the mandate

  • Ensure that affordable housing is built to the highest standard of energy efficiency (following the BC Energy Step Code)

  • Grant density bonusing for family-suitable projects (i.e. 3BR or more and units over 1,200 sq. feet) and purpose-built rentals, below market units, and accessible units for the elderly and differently abled

  • Enable pre-zoning of land for non-profit groups delivering rental housing

  • Enable pre-zoning for multi-unit redevelopments in residential areas (e.g. triplexes) and generally support missing middle initiatives 

  • Update the Official Community Plan (OCP) to better allow for affordability and gentle densification and to exempt from public hearings all proposed redevelopments that comply with the updated OCP

  • Support a Housing Reserve Fund or local amenities fund into which developers of redeveloped single-family home lots would be required to pay into, and use the funds to finance or subsidize below-market rentals and homeownership, as well as renters displaced by the construction of new housing

  • Develop new policies to protect and support renters displaced by redevelopments

 

Desired outcomes: Use zoning, density bonusing, prezoning, amenity funds, and other mechanisms to increase affordability and ensure easy access to rentals, market housing, and social housing for all Victorians.  

  

Housing the Unhoused

 

Seven-Point Plan: The HAVES Plan (Housing All Victorians in an Emergency Situation)

  • House all critically unhoused people in Victoria by the end of 2023

  • Replicate and modify the tiny home village model piloted in North Park, using Conestoga huts or purpose-built modular units.

  • Provide supports at the villages, including security, facility support, and mental health and cultural supports

  • Undertake consultation with neighbourhoods, the unhoused, NGOs, First Nations, and the public more generally to locate the best 5-6 hardscape sites around Victoria to house the 150 critically unsheltered people in the city

  • Regionalize the solution by collaborating with CRD and up-island jurisdictions to employ similar solutions elsewhere

  • HAVES is a short-to-medium term solution. Continue to work with the Province, the Federal Government, BC Housing, and diverse partners to secure permanent housing for all people as well as to address the complex underlying issues that contribute to homelessness

  • Reverse the process of ghettoization on Pandora Street by sheltering the unsheltered and by hiring 25 marginally housed or unhoused citizens to work as high-visibility community cleaners.

Desired outcomes: Take quick and decisive action to house the unhoused, clean up Pandora Street, and reverse the process of ghettoization in Victoria that was created through poor planning and failed leadership. Achieve this outcome by taking a systems approach and focusing on “housing first,” mental health and cultural supports (including those specific to First Nations), and short-, medium-, and long-term solutions to the crisis of the unhoused.

 

Revive Downtown Victoria

  • At a high level, the plan is to revive downtown by supporting its small businesses, sheltering the unhoused, cleaning up the urban core, and creating new public and cultural amenities that attract residents, families, and travellers back to downtown

  • Urban areas are best revived by breathing life back into marginalized districts

  • Support community policing initiatives, including ACT and IMCRT, that shift the focus of policing way from enforcement and towards the use of street nurses, social workers, and mental health workers

  • The impacts of the pandemic on Victoria’s economy were devastating, and most directly impacted small business owners

    • Over ¼ of Victorians lost wages or work due to the pandemic

    • Hundreds of businesses closed in the city

  • A priority of the mandate (2022-2026) will be to support the revival of Victoria’s vibrant small-business community

  • Build into budget 2023 financial supports and public services to decrease costs for small businesses and de-risk the process of opening new businesses

  • Find new ways to decrease taxes and business licencing costs for businesses affected by major construction

  • Create policies and awareness campaigns that encourage and incentivize consumption of locally produced goods and services

  • Build new public assets in the downtown core that attract locals, travellers, and tourists back to the core: 

    • Support the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in its desire to move to downtown Victoria

    • Create new public spaces, plazas, and family-friendly infrastructure, such as bike parks, in downtown

    • Build a new pier next to the Johnston Street Bridge, reusing the concrete pylons left from the old bridge

    • Improve access to the waterfront, especially around Johnson Street Bridge

    • Build a new library in downtown Victoria, ideally in Centennial Square, replete with a ground-level cafe to improve the vibe in the Square

  • The HAVES plan (discussed elsewhere in this platform) addresses homelessness impacts on the downtown core, and strategies to shelter the unhoused and clean up the core

 

Climate Action, Natural Assets, and the Environment

 

  • Integrate a 'climate lens' into all municipal decision-making processes

  • Support Victoria’s Climate Leadership Plan and Climate Action Strategy, with its goals of 80% GHG reductions by 2050

  • Move Victorians away from oil tanks and natural gas and towards heat pumps;

    • Buildings make up half of Victoria’s emissions, and the focus should be on drastically reducing this sector's emissions

    • Work with neighbourhood associations to identify the remaining oil tanks in the city so as to help homeowners expedite the transition to low-carbon building systems

    • Ban new natural gas hookups to houses by 2025, with exceptions for gas ranges and ornamental fireplaces

  • Help Victoria adapt to a changing climate and sea-level rise by undertaking a natural asset inventory and determining ways of conserving and enhancing Victoria's essential ecosystem services and natural assets, including its foreshore, urban canopy, bodies of water, and pollinator species. 

  • Create new funding mechanisms, such as green bonds, to make sure that Victoria’s has the necessary funds to take substantive climate action

  • Shift the city’s focus away from territorial emissions accounting and towards consumption-based emissions accounting, which tracks the lifecycle emissions of a city, including impacts from consumer goods shipped to Victoria from abroad

  • Support bike lanes, e-bike infrastructure, bike parking, pedestrian pathways and rights, low-carbon and multi-modal mobility, and expanded public transit

  • Reduce waste volumes and associated emissions (20% of Victoria's GHGs) and move towards zero-waste strategies

  • Enable a circular economy in Victoria and ensure that nearly all waste from deconstructed buildings is reused, repurposed, or kept out of landfill

  • Explore a municipal feed-in tariff and policy mechanisms that support solar power

  • Regulate cruise ship emissions as much as possible in the municipality’s jurisdiction; install electric shore power at Ogden Point

  • Exert pressure on the Federal government to regulate international shipping vessels and their environmental impacts on the Salish Sea (effluent, air pollution, and noise emissions)

  • Increase Victoria’s urban canopy and urban agriculture (soil building as carbon sink)

 

Desired outcomes: Victoria is viewed as a model for climate action; becomes world’s leading small city for ambitious emissions reduction efforts and and actions that support adaptation to a changing climate. 

 

Holistic Development

 

  • Ensure that any development that occurs in the city is done sustainably and that residents in new (and current) housing have access to healthcare, efficient, multi-modal, and low-carbon transportation, public schools, retail, and green spaces

  • Ensure that changes to our city do not destroy Victoria’s uniqueness and designated heritage sites and structures

  • Require all new, large-scale developments to come with plans for addressing impacts on transportation, healthcare, and schooling

  • Reform neighbourhood associations and land-use committees to ensure diversity, accountability, good governance, and to reduce neighbourhood-level barriers towards affordable housing and other developments in line with the OCP

 

Desired outcomes: That the city stop viewing housing and transportation and other aspects of development in isolation from each another, and begin to address holistic community impacts; break down barriers to gentle densification (for both market and non-market housing, and mixed-use buildings).

 

A City for Families

 

  • Bring the perspective of a parent of elementary-aged and middle-school-aged children to council

  • Ensure that kids have safe access to schools

  • Ensure that densification means that kids have access to neighbourhood schools

  • Expand park facilities to make them more amenable to families, including ensuring covered picnic areas in all major park facilities

  • Advocate for School District 61 continues to retain late French immersion programs at both Central Middle School and Lansdowne Middle School

  • Work collaboratively with School District 61 to ensure that housing and schooling are addressed simultaneously in any development plans

  • Build new community assets that benefit family activities, including bike parks and disk golf facilities within the city’s limits

  • Limit the impact of cars on our communities so they are safer for children and pedestrians

 

Desired outcomes: That Victoria is safe, affordable, and welcoming to families, and the best place in Canada to bring up children.  

 

The Crystal Pool

 

  • Get the pool built!

  • Ensure that there is a proper site assessment that takes an evidence-based approach

  • Ensure that no green space is lost as a result of construction

  • Treat the development as a LAND-USE matter, not a narrow Parks and Rec matter

  • Ensure that indoor (pool) users and outdoor (parks) users are equally heard

  • Let the people choose: the city must create 3-4 properly costed-out proposals. The people could choose the best outcome either via neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood consultation or a referendum

  • Ideally include community centre space within a pool facility for the North Park neighbourhood

 

Desired outcomes: That the pool is built by the end of the mandate, and in ways that satisfy diverse community needs.

 

The 15-Minute City: Better Public Transit and Multi-Modal Transportation

 

  • Ensure that Victoria has expanded BC Transit service, especially in neighbourhoods with growing populations

  • Create more regularized inter-city busses between Victoria and the West Shore and Duncan

  • Create dedicated bus lanes

  • Finish the expansion of the urban bike lane network and explore its expansion, while also developing infrastructure for e-bikes

  • Explore the possibility of light-rail systems from Victoria to the West Shore and up the peninsula

  • Explore the possibility of increased transit discounts for seniors

  • Support pedestrians and safe and accessible walking infrastructure

 

Desired outcomes: That Victoria becomes a “15-minute city” that’s easy to get around in, accessible, low-carbon, safe, and more reliant on non-automobile transportation.

 

Urban Agriculture

 

  • Take every legally available approach to ban the use of glyphosate and other toxic pesticides and insecticides within the city’s jurisdiction

  • Support urban agriculture via the My Good Neighbour grant by allowing groups of urban farmers to team up, apply for funding, and share grant funding for gardening infrastructure

  • Support the sale of urban agricultural goods by reducing the cost (currently $100) of obtaining a farm stand permit

  • Create a public awareness campaign with workshops about pollinator gardens, drip irrigation, and boulevard gardening, building on the Growing in the City program

  • Support Victoria’s urban farms and gardens, in both the public and private sector

  • Explore the possibility of expanding the range of urban livestock allowed in the city

  • Create a new program in which sections of public green space are set aside for urban agriculture, to be operated by current Parks staff and volunteers, with some of the food products and sales going towards the local unhoused population

 

Desired outcomes: That Victoria increases its food security by producing more food and that more Victorians have an opportunity to grow in the city.

 

Opioid Crisis

 

  • Treat opioids as a public health crisis of the utmost urgency

  • Expand harm reduction efforts in the city by, for instance, creating new safe, public spaces for supervised drug usage

  • Expand drug testing facilities to reduce the impacts of a toxic drug supply

  • Lobby the province to decriminalize drugs and treat substance abuse as a health issue, not a criminal issue

  • Work with the Victoria PD to expand support for ACT and IMCRT and other programs that shift public safety practices from police to councillors, social workers, and street nurses.

  • Create a public awareness campaign about the impact of toxic drugs, especially for the demographic groups most at risk in this crisis

    • In January of 2022, ~200 people in BC died from toxic drugs and/or overdoses

    • The opioid crisis affects people from all walks of life, but some demographic groups are more at risk than others (including people employed in the trades)

  • Advocate for a safe supply for opioid users, along the lines of policies in Portugal and Switzerland

  • Create a new public health campaign aimed at targeting the demographic most likely to experience an overdose: working-class people in the trades

  • Work with provincial and federal governments to increase health and social supports for opioid users

 

Desired outcomes: That Victoria reduces the number of toxic drug deaths and leads the way in changing the public health model of substance use.

 

Reconciliation

 

  • In general, prioritize reconciliation in local governance and policymaking, and commit to creating a more just and accountable community

  • Support the City Family concept

  • Ensure that neighbourhoods with high percentages of Indigenous residents are viewed by the city through a social equity lens – for instance, in terms of public monies distributed to neighbourhood associations

  • Take action to recognize Victoria’s role in residential schools, namely at St. Anne’s Academy

  • Extend and continue the process of decolonizing Victoria’s systems and public spaces in full collaboration with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations

  • Team with local Nations' economic development offices as they look to expand their footprint in ecotourism, services, and hospitality

 

Desired outcomes: That Victoria becomes a leader in enacting reconciliation at the municipal level.

 

Regional Approach: CRD Director

 

  • I am interested in serving as a CRD Director. (Directors of the Regional District are not elected directly by voters, but rather internally by city councils, after elections occur.)

  • I am interested in serving on transportation, housing, environment, and/or agriculture-related committees 

  • I see the value in taking a regional approach to decision-making 

 

Desired outcomes: That Victoria do more to influence and guide the actions of the regional district in bringing about positive change.

 

A More Welcoming City

 

  • Racism is unacceptable in our society; I will work with diverse communities to enact policies that combat racism 

    • Recent polling found that 71% of racialized Victorians had experienced racism

  • I will work to make Victoria more welcoming to immigrants and new Canadians by working with the Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria to better understand how the city can support newcomers, including those from Syria and Ukraine.

 

Desired outcomes: That Victoria becomes a more diverse and welcoming place to live.