Standing up for people and the planet
>> Advocating for safe, energy-efficient, affordable housing and a fair deal for everyone
>> Enhancing sustainable transportation to take action on climate change and increase safety, with improved transit, walking and cycling options
>> Protecting the natural environment with expanded parks, trails and community gardens, and improved environmental regulations
>> Encouraging strong neighbourhoods with human-scaled development, meaningful engagement and support for vibrant markets and village centres
>> Supporting community centres, seniors, libraries and the arts
>> Providing cost-effective public services with open, accountable local government
We can continue moving forward with your support. Get involved to help build an inclusive, sustainable city and region. You can also learn more about Ben's vision for the years ahead.
Ben's Track Record: Leadership for People and the Planet
Some highlights of Ben’s contributions as a City Councillor and CRD Director since the last election:
Expanded Housing with Supports to Reduce Homelessness and Improve Affordability
Ben played an integral role securing $90-million in funding to reduce homelessness through the Regional Housing First Program — a proposal that Ben drafted based on three-way cost-sharing of construction costs between the Regional District and the Provincial and Federal governments, subjecting to a commitment of ongoing operating funding for housing subsidies and support services from the BC government.
Ben supported the repurposing of existing buildings to provide housing with supports to reduce homelessness, with funding from BC Housing to partner agencies.
Ben secured a four-fold increase in the City’s contribution to the Affordable Housing Trust, expanding capacity to build affordable housing for families, youth, people with disabilities, and others.
Strengthened Community Centres and Seniors’ Centres
Ben introduced a proposal that resulted in a 50% increase in operating funding for community centres and senior’s centres, with allowance for annual inflationary increases.
Ben introduced a proposal that doubled the available programming space for the Quadra Village Community Centre, through a lease with the Capital Regional Hospital District that secured a gymnasium for use by youth and other community groups.
Advanced Indigenous Rights
Ben worked with the WSANEC, Cowichan and Lyackson First Nations to protect the ecological and cultural values of Grace Islet, a Coast Salish burial ground and Garry oak ecosystem in Ganges Harbour off Salt Spring Island. Ben supported efforts of elders and leaders from these indigenous communities to exercise customary rights to the island. Ben also advocated to the regional board and the provincial government to support the acquisition of the islet, which was purchased in 2015 and transferred to the stewardship of these Coast Salish communities.
Ben introduced amendments to the City of Victoria’s Parks Regulation Bylaw to protect the cultural values of Coffin Island in Victoria Harbour. Ben responded to a request from the Songhees First Nation for action by the City to prevent interference with this sensitive site. Ben subsequently convened a meeting with Songhees and City officials, resulting in a proposal unanimously adopted by City Council directing staff to prepare amendments to the bylaw to protect the site.
Ben successfully advocated for the inclusion of the Lekwungen language on City of Victoria signage in Downtown Victoria.
Improved Sustainable Transportation Options
Ben secured substantial improvements in pedestrian infrastructure, including new and safer crosswalks in a majority of City neighbourhoods, traffic calming and new bus shelters.
Ben initiated planning and investment in all-ages and abilities cycling infrastructure, including the first protected bike lanes in the City of Victoria.
Ben secured a multi-use pathway, a new public washroom at Clover Point and other public amenities in conjunction with the CRD Waste-Water Treatment project.
Ben supported the development of the CRD Safe Routes to School initiative, working with kids, parents and school communities to identify and improve safe walking and cycling routes to and from schools in neighbourhoods.
Ben spearheaded the formation of the City of Victoria Active Transportation Advisory Committee, to provide advice to the city on improvements to sustainable transportation options.
Improved Parks and Local Food Systems
Ben successfully advocated for the initiation and completion of the Parks and Open Spaces Master Plan — a roadmap to guide improvements within the municipal park system, including restoring natural areas, enhancing amenities within parks, and creating new parks and trails.
Ben introduced the Neighbourhood Community Garden Volunteer Coordinator Program, to ensure proper maintenance of neighbourhood common gardens, as well as enhanced opportunities for community development and wellness for neighbourhood residents.
Ben helped found the Urban Food Table, a food policy council consisting of stakeholders from diverse community organizations advising the City on advancing food security in the local community.
Ben supported the creation of new community gardens in the Downtown, James Bay and North Park neighbourhoods.
Ben successfully advocated for the creation of a new City park at Begbie Green in the North Jubilee neighbourhood.
Improved Good Governance and Cost-Effective Public Services
Ben initiated amendments to the Council Procedures Bylaw to permit members of the public to address City Council at the beginning of Council Meetings, to prioritize input from delegations on community issues.
Ben enshrined democratic accountability in the appointment of the City of Victoria’s representatives to the Capital Regional District Board, ensuring that appointment procedures for Directors and Alternate Directors in the Council Procedures Bylaw mirrored the mandate provided by voters in the plebiscite for regional district representatives in the general election.
Ben imposed fiscal restraint on executive compensation and policing expenditures, including restrictions on growth of policing costs.
Ben advocated to avoid imposing excessive tax increases on local residents, opposing a shift of the tax burden from businesses to residents that exceeded the City Council’s accepted maximum of 1% beyond the rate of inflation.
Demonstrated Leadership for Environmental Protection
Ben spearheaded the initiative to eliminate single-use plastic bags in Victoria — the first BC municipality to do so — as the first step toward a broader “zero waste” strategy to reduce plastic pollution, lower solid waste disposal and landfilling costs, protect wildlife, and clean up waterways.
Ben secured the City of Victoria’s participation as an Intervenor in National Energy Board hearings against the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, presenting on behalf of the City to the Board with the argument that the risks of the project to the health of the local economy and ecosystems outweighed any benefits to the local community.
Ben secured Council resolutions advocating to the Government of Canada for constitutional amendments to guarantee the right to a healthy environment, and advocated to the Government of British Columbia to enact a provincial Bill of Environmental Rights, to protect old-growth rainforests and wild salmon stocks, and to enact provincial restrictions on plastic packaging.
Made Victoria More Inclusive
Ben supported the establishment of the City of Victoria Accessibility Working Group, with $250,000 in annual funding to a new Accessibility Reserve Fund, to engage people with lived experience of disabilities to advise the city on improvements to facilities, infrastructure, programs and policies to remove barriers to participation by all people in community life.
Ben supported the establishment of rainbow crosswalks at City Hall to demonstrate inclusiveness for the LGBTQ and 2SIA communities.
Ben advocated for the provision of safe-consumption services and expanded treatment options in the City of Victoria, to reduce harm from addictions.
Ben worked with immigrant and refugees groups and agencies to advocate to the Government of Canada for improvements in the immigrant and refugee sponsorship and settlement process.