In this week’s Times-Colonist’s “Monitor” section, reporters Kim Westad and Bill Cleverley highlight readers’ responses to the question about what issues matter most to voters in upcoming municipal elections. Readers were not shy about what frustrates them and here are some of the top issues according to the article:
- Transportation – from fighting the Colwood Crawl to catching a ferry at Swartz Bay or navigating the Malahat, from walkways to bikeways and LRT, it seems regional transportation issues are at the top of the list, with a big price tag for LRT.
- Secondary Sewage Treatment in the Core – cost, environmental protection, science and other levels of government are all being “treated” as significant factors in the debate over whether the nearly $800M project is necessary.
- Amalgamation – combined services for police and fire and amalgamation of municipalities are on the minds of this year’s voters, again.
- Transparent Government – accountability, good government and transparency are important to voters, with emphases on information-sharing, use of new technology and Official Community Plans (OCPs) used to guide and communicate local government decision-making.
- Sense of Community – while many call for regional amalgamation, a local social policy expert suggests that there is a desire to retain “sense of” place or “community,” that unique “connectedness” that seems to make municipal politics so important to daily quality of life.
- Other Issues – affordable housing and secondary suites, future of libraries, urban deer, improving public access to waterfront areas, recreation, green space and the Maritime Museum.
I was personally gratified to see that North Saanich is mentioned in the article as a leader in open government and public accessibility through the use of technology, however, Oak Bay was identified as not nearly as open.
You might recall that North Saanich led the region this year in using webcasting to televise its Council meetings and made the proceedings available to the public the following day on the municipal website.
If elected in Oak Bay, I will work with Council to explore and implement new technologies to effectively reach our community, residents and stakeholders.