In the District of Central Saanich, Mayor Ryan Windsor will be acclaimed with no opposition. There are eight candidates running for six councillor positions. We asked each candidate to outline the most important thing council can do to improve the lives of residents. Here are their responses listed alphabetically.
Focus on quality of life: Maintain open spaces and parks to foster peace of mind and encourage healthy living through sports and play. Build trails and support alternative transportation to make travel safer for all of us. Promote and preserve our farms and farm markets to ensure access to local fresh produce and a healthy diet. Keep taxes low and costs down to maintain affordability. Zone and incentivize the services we need, such as doctor clinics and childcare. Collaborate with Tsartlip and Tsawout to build a stronger community working together. Protect the environment to enhance the world around us.
My family has lived in Central Saanich for three generations, where my grandmother ran for council in 1979. I’ve proudly served as a Central Saanich councillor for five terms, and I’m currently working on my doctoral degree at Royal Roads University. To improve the lives of residents, council needs to reduce the skyrocketing costs of living, particularly for those on fixed incomes struggling with high inflation and high transportation, housing, and food prices, plus more. My efforts regarding transportation, energy efficiency and food security reduce costs and help save our planet. For dialogue and information, see zebking.ca.
I believe we have serious challenges on the horizon to prepare for – global climate change being the biggest unknown. I’m a biologist and take a bit of a long view on things and an optimist so see these more as opportunities than threats. I have lived in Brentwood Bay for over 20 years and have been involved with the local marine search and rescue station since 2009. Responsible use and safety issues are key throughout our community and encourage adoption of appropriate technologies and ideas to expedite improvements to housing, transportation, greenspace and water management while exploring business opportunities that align with the values that make this place special.
Council can improve the lives of Central Saanich residents by making well-considered and thoughtful planning decisions that protect the rural and small town character of Central Saanich.
Many residents have said that they would like their adult children to have a chance at living here in more affordable housing and have expressed support for more carriage homes, cottages and secondary suites as well as small scale infill development.
Planning for parking, traffic calming measures and speed limits should happen at the time of development.
Public input and transparency in decision making should be features of all planning decisions.
The most important thing is for council to be functional and respectful. Functional as in being considerate to each other, staff, the public and members of the community. Respectful, as in how we treat and listen to others and to how tax dollars are spent. As we continue to see significant inflation, being respectful with your tax dollars will need to become more paramount.
In a time of increasing discord and deplorable social media behaviour now more than ever we all need to show more respect to each other and “be kind, be calm, and be safe.”
Niall’s one “big idea” for improving the lives of residence in Central Saanich is to focus council’s attention towards significant transportation improvements that connect Saanichton, Brentwood Bay, Tanner Ridge/Keating, Tsartlip and Tsawout in safe walkable and cyclable Central Saanich loops. These loops would be accessible, well identified with signage and clearly connected throughout the municipality. Imagine having clear sidewalk and trail connections with signage, information about local history, First Nations meaning, and local business wayfinding. Niall’s vision is that Central Saanich would become known for these community loops and it becomes a gold standard for safely connecting neighbours, businesses and students.
The most important thing council can do to improve the lives of residents is build and foster a healthy, engaged, inclusive district by:
· supporting diverse housing options for people of different ages, backgrounds, incomes, and abilities;
· improving road safety and active transportation infrastructure;
· using district tools to attract and retain critical health and community services;
· expanding our playgrounds, parks, trails, and recreation facilities; and
· supporting farmers, artisan producers, and other local businesses.
With your help, I can bring my extensive experience, comprehensive knowledge, and passion to the council table and help us get there!
There are several areas council can address, including safe travel on roads and partnering on easing the health care crisis, but the most critical is housing. Provision of diverse housing opportunities through sensitive infill and densification is a challenge in itself, but addressing “affordability” is critical.
We have a social responsibility to address housing needs. Businesses need housing for employees. Rents are so high that some young workers move away. Council should focus its efforts on different housing forms, like four- and six-plexes, as well as non-market housing, as supported in our draft Official Community Plan.
Advance voting starts on Oct. 5 with general election day on Oct. 15. For more information on how or where to vote, check out your municipality’s website. You can find election night results, and more coverage in the lead-up, under the election tab at peninsulanewsreview.com.
READ MORE: 2022 Election Coverage
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