Ideas for a fair, safe and green Victoria
Ben is committed to working with people like you, community groups and colleagues at the City of Victoria and Capital Regional District to build long-lasting and cost-effective solutions for our neighbourhoods, city and region. Please share your ideas as we move forward to implement the following policies. You can also learn more about Ben's track record as an elected official.
A Fair City
- Expand affordable housing supply, allocating seed capital for social housing from an expanded Regional Housing Levy, while working with residents and local builders to expand the supply of safe, affordable secondary suites and neighbourhood-appropriate multi-unit buildings. Read my report Housing for All
- Implement a municipal Living Wage Policy for all city-contracted work (as has been done in New Westminster, a BC city similar in size to Victoria), setting an example to business that will improve living conditions for workers while injecting consumer dollars into our local economy.
- Develop a Community Broadband network, building on the example of other BC municipalities such as Coquitlam to reduce the costs of internet service for residents while propelling growth of employment in the local information technology sector.
- Introduce a city-sponsored Buy Local campaign, encouraging residents and tourists to spend hard-earned dollars on sustainable and responsible local enterprise (rather than big-box retailers and large chain stores), keeping resources in our downtown, our village centres and our community markets.
- Keep city operations public, cost-effective and open. Explore opportunities to reduce costs by “contracting-in” services such as recycling, road and sewer construction, and security services.
A Safe City
- Work with the Province of British Columbia and local agencies including AIDS Vancouver Island, Island Health and Solid to expand supervised-consumption and addictions-treatment services, improving the health of people managing addictions while reducing the impacts of addictions on the broader community.
- Complete a review of the Police Budget and police operations, respecting collective agreements while ensuring that finite tax dollars go toward crime prevention rather than responding to non-threatening behaviour by youth and low-income people.
- Work with community associations and residents to update Neighbourhood Transportation Plans, implementing traffic calming and increasing safety for children, seniors, pedestrians, cyclists and other users of public roads and rights-of-way.
- Develop a Community Violence Prevention Program, partnering with the BC Ministry of Attorney General, women’s organizations, School District 61, the Victoria Police Department, the Rock Solid Foundation to break the cycle of violence among youth and adults in Victoria, with specific initiatives aimed at sexual violence, bullying and violence against women and children.
A Green City
- Expand and improve parks, natural areas and food security in all neighbourhoods, including restoration of natural areas and shoreline areas, more community gardens and better management of the Urban Forest.
- Expand pedestrian and cycling greenways in our beautiful neighbourhoods and around the waterfront and Upper Harbour, following the example of Vancouver's Green Streets program with more active transportation, linear parkways and opportunities for urban agriculture. Update and take action to implement the City’s Greenways Plan.
- Support affordable public transit, with reduced fares, more frequent buses (including additional late-night buses), more bus lanes to the Western Communities and Saanich Peninsula so commuters don't get stuck in traffic, and a commuter rail link to Victoria Harbour along the E&N Corridor.
- Reduce carbon emissions in City operations and in new construction, contributing to a cleaner world while setting an example for citizens and business.
- Maintain public water and sewage services, in partnership with neighbouring municipalities and senior governments. Avoid costly public-private partnerships that remove public control and oversight of essential services.
- Advocate for stronger regulation of cruise ships, floatplanes, tour buses and helicopter traffic in the vicinity of Victoria Harbour, reducing noise pollution, emissions, and harm to residents and the environment.
- Encourage neighbourhood-appropriate development, respecting the character of Victoria’s Old Town, the waterfront and our diverse neighbourhoods. Update and implement our neighbourhood plans. Encourage public consultation at the earliest possible stage.
- Create a watefront park on City-owned land at Ship's Point below Wharf Street, a high-quality and attractive destination in the Inner Harbour for residents, visitors, festivals and events, and incorporating public art and a children's play area. Leverage grants and resources in the five-year financial plan to complete the project.
Capital Regional District Policy
We share a natural jewel here on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, which collectively we can steward to provide prosperity for all alongside healthy ecosystems. I am committed to moving forward on the following policies:
- Partner with First Nations to replace colonial relationships with genuine co-operation in pursuit of economic equality, protection of sacred sites and ecosystems, celebration of cultural heritage, and land-use patterns and governance that are consistent with First Nations and regional interests.
- Respect the Urban Containment Boundary, protecting forest lands in the Gulf Islands and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area and farmlands in the western communities and the Saanich Peninsula from urban sprawl, guided by the values of ecosystem protection, recreational access and food security.
- Expand the Regional Housing First Program with a contribution of $25 per household per year, mobilizing $5-million annually in seed funds as a means of leveraging increased provincial and federal funds to substantially reduce homelessness and increase housing affordability in our region.
- Move toward an elected, accountable CRD, with First Nations representation and increased revenue-generating powers to provide integrated services while placing our regional government on a democratic footing. Retain local control over land-use through the existing municipal framework.
- Create a Regional Transportation Authority, under the auspices of the CRD, to oversee the creation of a high-quality electric transit network connecting Victoria to all parts of the region, including dedicated bus lanes and consideration of commuter rail to the Western Communities, Cowichan Valley and Saanich Peninsula.
- Complete the East-West Hiking Trail through the Sooke Hills Wilderness Reserve, linking Langford at the Humpback Reservoir to Sooke Mountain Provincial Park and CRD parkland along the Sooke River.
- Conduct an ecological inventory of wilderness areas in the Capital Region, to guide land acquisition and parks planning.
- Work with municipal and senior government partners to complete public sewage treatment without delay, generating revenue through resource recovery.
- Develop a regional Incomes Strategy to provide economic security for seniors, youth, working people and people with disabilities, while supporting local enterprise through increased purchasing power and “Buy Local” initiatives.