The Colwood Community Association Election 2018 Q & A – Read my answers!
The Colwood Community Association, founded by Kim Vincer, is hosting a weekly Q & A with candidates in the Colwood 2018 municipal election. Answers are limited to 150 words. Read my answers and thanks Kim!
Question: Week 1 — What skills would you bring to the table if elected?
I come from rural southern Ontario, put myself through several university degrees and learned a few languages along the way, We speak English, French, and Japanese at home. I have lived in Colwood for over 10 years, but before that I have lived in diverse places across Canada, such as: Canmore, Toronto, Sarnia, and was raised in a town of <400. I’ve experienced living internationally: Europe/Asia—living in the worlds largest cities, like Tokyo, and some of its smallest — all these give me insights to the possibilities of what can and cannot work in our treasured community of Colwood, BC.
I’ve served on community boards in the capacities of treasurer, fundraiser, communications, and recruitment; and being collaborative in nature, made them work for the all involved, while learning a lot myself. I’ve owned three successful small businesses, worked for governments (Japan, Mauritius), have strong analytical, accounting, PR, and problem solving skills. I don’t make decisions based on emotion or philosophy, but rather my decisions are fact and evidence based.
As Colwood’s Canada 150 Community leader, I learned a tremendous about about Colwood, how it works, and why, which meshed well with my day job as a destination marketer. My passion for Colwood knows no bounds!
Question: Week 2 — What would you do to alleviate the housing crisis for everyone, in particular seniors and young people starting out?
Municipalities are limited in what they can do, but here is a list of tools that we can tweak, just and modify to favour housing, and should employ: Bylaws, Transportation, Inclusionary Zoning, Fee Waivers and Relief, Property Taxes, Advocacy, Land Contributions, Replacement Policies, Housing Agreements, Community Land Trusts, Zoning for Rental Housing.
I try to volunteer as much as possible in the greater community effort to end homelessness. As such, I believe in the Housing First approach to solving homelessness, developed into workable reality by the street-to-homes community organizations in Victoria, such as: The Coalition, Our Place Society, Pacifica Housing, Victoria Cool Aid, and many more. Once housed, attention and dollars can be directed to improving the health, skill sets, and quality of life of the hard to home. It is good so see these organizations in our community. I support their further involvement in our community.
People need to be able to live in the communities in which they work and play. If residents of Colwood can’t afford to live in Colwood in 5, 10 or 20 years, then we will have failed them. I am in favour of using every means in the municipal tool box, in concert with other levels of government to keep housing and living affordability as high as possible. The BC government’s 30 point plan for housing affordability in BC is not the solution to British Columbia’s housing affordability crisis. It is going to take this, a lot of out of the box thinking and cooperation of all levels of government in my opinion.
Question: Week 3 — How would you go about improving the transportation/traffic problems we face living here?
Colwood is bordered by the ocean and Metchosin, Langford, and View Royal. We don’t have control over who travels through Colwood to get to work, school, and play. Building more and wider roads is not the answer. The CRD’s regional transportation plan dates back to 2014 and therefore outdated, lacks imagination solutions and way finding isn’t really addressed. What we need to do is:
Week 4 — What is your view on the sustainability of Colwood’s tax base?
It is not sustainable with 93% of it being funded by residents and 7% by business — if we want amenities such as sidewalks, skateboard parks, arts facilities and traffic solutions.
High density development is not the solution either. The newly minted OCP calls for balanced medium density mixed development in our community, going forward. This will gradually, and effectively change that ratio over time, allowing for the existing community to adapt and allowing us to plan for a robust future, keeping residential taxes in line with more amenities from the increased tax base, and more jobs available for residents who wish to work in our community as well.
Week 5 — How would you preserve Colwood’s green spaces and waterfront?
The waterfront is a stewarded, world-class destination for residents and visitors alike.
Nearby urban areas…will be balanced with measures that protect sensitive ecological areas from human activity…safeguarding the qualities that make this place special.
On page 10, the second goal:
People and nature are exceptionally well-connected.
It goes on to state green spaces/water sheds will be protected AND enhanced. Development decisions will be based on the whole watershed. We have protection and enhancement of our waterfront/green spaces enshrined in the OCP. What I can do is protect the OCP from requests to amend these goals and/or grant variance requests watering this down.
It would take an evidenced based proof of an existential threat to people, significant infrastructure, or other ecosystems for me to move on this.
Are you in favour of a citizens’ assembly process to look at governance in your community and its relation to the region? Why or why not? Please explain.YES. In the last election, 75% of CRD residents who were given a chance to respond, voted yes to further study. The time is now. Let’s find out what people think, let’s have a look at governance options once and for all.
The current Capital Region District Board consists of municipal councillors and mayors who are appointed1 from the 13 municipalities. By legislation, these municipal appointments are responsible to represent the interests of their home municipalities.2 Do you think that regional interests would be better served if the entire CRD Board was directly elected by voters region- wide? Why or why not? Please explain.I think the CRD board should be directly elected. The current system puts CRD directors in a difficult situation—they were directly elected to serve their community, not 12 other municipalities and their community.Go to the Amalgamation Yes website for for information, and see the list of answers from Colwood candidates.
A visit to Ecole John Stubbs Memorial Grade 5 Class Participating in Student Vote | Vote Etudiant – what an experience!
The Grade 5 class at Ecole John Stubbs Memorial elementary and middle school (SD62) is participating in the Student Vote / Vote Etudiant program – and I got to visit this morning with a few of my colleagues and introduce myself and learn what issues concern students. And wow! These students are smart, engaged and concerned about their community. The participants were:
Current Mayor, Mayoral Candidate : Carol Hamilton
Current councillor, Mayoral Candidate: Rob Martin
and me, Scott McDonald
We were given one minute to explain who we were. Then we got to explain why were were running and a bit about our platforms.
Then we had to answer 2 questions the class came up with as a whole. See my answers below:
What type of volunteer work do you do to be involved in our community? I was the City of Colwood’s Canada 150 Community Leader for 2017.I got to digitally document Canada 150 events around the city, including going into each school and documenting the creation of Canada 150 Art Tree projects.I also volunteer at Our Place and the Victoria Cool Aid Society, helping to end homelessness, working with the Colwood Garden Society, and mentoring LGBTQ2S street youth, and volunteering for the greater Victoria Flower Count.The second question was two-fold:
What is something you love about Colwood and something you would like to change?
I explained that the 5 kilometres of pristine beachfront is what I love and want to ensure is protected for all to use, now and into the future for all generations.
As for what I’d like to change–I explained I believe everyone deserves a home and that I’d like to work to ensure housing for all. Housing affordability, low income housing and a climate where people who wish to live, work, and play in Colwood is important to me.
The students had some great questions for us as well:
What are you doing to make sure there are homes for people in Colwood
I think housing costs are to high, what will you do to help?
There is a lot of garbage and litter in my neighbourhood and the animals (raccoons) sometimes eat it and get sick, can you help?
The speed on roads seems too fast in my neighbourhood of Wishart, will you slow down the cars?
I see a lot of texting and driving will you stop that?
There is a lot of traffic, will you work with other municipalities to solve this
Around my school in the morning there are a lot of parking issues, how will you help this?
We’d like more sports venues, pools, and skate parks in Colwood. Another student informed us that there will be a skate park in the future at Juan de Fuca. Councillor Martin confirmed this but said they need to find the $500,000 to build it.
There are plants that can be used to produce oil. We need oil. Why don’t we be proactive and use this instead of bring oil here?
The Ecole John Stubbs Memorial students are passionate and engaged with their community. I’d like to thank them for the invitation and for educating me about what concerns them in their community! Merci beaucoup!