Two Weekend Events

I attended two weekend events, one as Council Liaison and one on behalf of Mayor and Council:

  • Strategic Priorities Workshop with CRD Arts Committee and Arts Advisory Council

In a combined workshop, these two Committees joined forces for a half day of identifying planning and action priorities for the coming year.  As you know, sustaining and enhancing regional arts activities are a major focus for these two bodies, particularly in a climate of shrinking funding and government support.  Many believe (and I do too) that the arts are not a frill and contribute significantly to the very fabric of our communities and region.  

Economic development, social well-being and the ability of citizens to access the arts are all worthy goals, fostered by these two organizations.  In a 2011 Study, it was reported that Greater Victoria arts and culture activity generated $170M in net revenue. What a contribution and just one aspect of the arts picture that demonstrates why we, as munipalities and as a region, need to continue to support our arts community.

  • Community Association of Oak Bay’s Annual General Meeting

I attended with Acting Mayor Councillor Pam Copley the AGM for the Community Association of Oak Bay.  We were invited to represent Mayor and Council, given that Mayor Jensen and other Council members were out of town.  As you know, this Association is very active in Oak Bay, with an informative website and the regular Connector Newsletter.  

Of special interest to me was the AGM’s keynote speaker Dr. Trevor Hancock, internationally renowned expert in the integration of community health and urban planning, a movement that has its roots in the 19th Century.  Highlights of his presentation included “Did you know” facts such as:

  • 80% of us live in urban centers
  • 90% of our time is spent indoors
  • 5% of our time is spent in cars
  • 5% of our time is spent outdoors
  • 100% of our time is spent living in natural eco-systems

Dr. Hancock encourages us to “grow people, build community and protect nature.”  He believes that governance is central to what we do (relates to community health, planning and development). When thinking about community, he stresses the importance of “capital,” meaning that we should grow human, social, natural and economic capital simultaneously.  He talked about the significance of the following goals, using the quote that “A goal is a timeless statement of aspiration”:

  • community involvement
  • political commitment
  • intersectoral partnerships
  • healthy public policy

A final quote from his presentation states:  “When inequality becomes too great, the idea of community becomes impossible.”

My thanks to the Community Association of Oak Bay for the invitation to attend their AGM.  The Association is also sponsoring a community walk on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day.  Please visit their website for details, available through this blog.