Thoughts on Saanich

Urban containment is the key to protecting farm and rural lands, and is strongly supported by citizens. We’ve chosen to concentrate future growth around centres, rather than sprawl out further onto farm and rural lands.

More can be done to make farming economically viable, retain lands in active agricultural use and encourage more regional sufficiency in food production.

High-quality services – like fall leaf collection, curbside recycling, and easy access to trails, greenways and parks – are central to our municipal personality and our regional brand.

Geographically, Saanich is the heart of the urban region. Practically, most of the region’s traffic passes through parts of Saanich. It’s essential we manage traffic and move people more effectively. Diversifying local transportation choices is a primary goal.

Every new Council inherits responsibility for stewardship of public services and assets, and faces the challenge of making timely investments that protect what we value and build what we need.

Paying for services is always an issue, because municipalities rely on property taxes paid by building owners. We need to actively lobby senior governments for access to sources of revenue that grow with the economy – 92 cents of every dollar of tax collected flows to our federal and provincial governments.
There’s only one taxpayer, but far more locally collected taxes should be invested directly in the community where taxpayers live. One of the biggest jobs elected representatives must tackle is persistent lobbying for more funding from senior governments

Property taxation is not progressive, and as people age, it imposes greater hardship.

In order to meet our needs as a community, we have to grow our own economy in ways that support the environment and our brand as a great place to raise a family, work and play.

Economic growth increasingly requires a highly skilled, entrepreneurial labour force. We are well positioned to capitalize on this with our excellent schools, great university, innovative community college, and bustling technology park.

There’s more we can do to attract new, green businesses to locate here – because in all of Canada, and up and down the coast, this is by far the best place to live. This gives us locational advantage.

The active living that our parks, trails and bike-friendly streets put within reach of all citizens is in synch with the needs and wants of a high-tech, creative class workforce . This gives us more locational advantage.

More can be done to diversify our mobility choices, reduce regional congestion, and soften neighbourhood impacts from cut-through traffic. A commitment to walkable neighbourhoods in an age-friendly community should be a high priority for Saanich.

We need to ensure food security by expanding local food production and diversifying  regional markets for local foods.