Colwood Community Association Questions

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!

Colwood Community Association Election Questions and my answers

Question: Week 1 — What skills would you bring to the table if elected?

Answer:

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.

Canada 150 Colwood Community Leader 2017

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?     

Answer:

I believe in the principles of housing first and homes for everyone and I am a strong supporter of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) and have even taken their Make Housing Central pledge. 29% of renters and 18% of home owners are paying more than 30% of their income for housing!

Housing Central Pledge - Scott McDonald
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.

ResourceThe Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness

Affordability

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.

Resource: Affordable BC’s idea

Question: Week 3 — How would you go about improving the transportation/traffic problems we face living here?

Answer:

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:

  1. Remove the ocean as a barrier and put some serious study into water based traffic links to Esquimalt and/or James Bay. You can read the 2013 Ferry Feasibility Study by Royal Roads University MBA student, Jonathan Calderwood in cooperation between Black Ball Ferry Line, Royal Roads University’s School of Business and the WestShore Chamber of Commerce  and the backgrounder is here. We said yes. It was feasible, yet nothing was done, most likely because the capital investment required was to high.Westshore Ferry Study 2013
  2. Improve way finding in Colwood so that barriers to entry on: biking, cycling, walking, boarding methods of getting around Colwood are removed.
  3. Attract investment and business into Colwood, in a measured way so that more people are working here, rather than commuting.
  4. Work with the province and federal government to get HOV lanes on the TCH and/or increase the dedicated lanes to Victoria in the morning and out of Victoria at rush hour.
  5. Work with BC Transit to improve service in Colwood.
  6. And finally, work with the other municipalities and the CRD to find solutions to ease traffic issues, looking at the issue holistically and not just what benefits a single community.Resource:  Urban transport: problems, solutions and responsibilities


Week 4 — What is your view on the sustainability of Colwood’s tax base?

Answer:

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.

Colwood Waterfront protection - Scott McDonald
Photo: City of Colwood – OCP

 

Week 5 — How would you preserve Colwood’s green spaces and waterfront?

Answer:

Page 9 — 3.2 GOALS of the 347 page Colwood 2018 Official Community Plan (OCP), Bylaw #1700, identifies the first priority for Colwood over the next 20 years accordingly:

The waterfront is a stewarded, world-class destination for residents and visitors alike.

Then:

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.


Want to help Scott win? See his support page!

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