© 2019. Authorized by Teale Phelps Bondaroff, 778-678-8325

Teale's Vision for Saanich

 

Vibrant Villages

Foster community and well-being by promoting walkable, intergenerational village centres, where affordable housing is mixed with shops, services, and workplaces. Encourage lively, welcoming public spaces through placemaking, arts, and culture across the district.

​Affordable Housing

  • Many new developments in Saanich include affordable housing. However too often affordable units are small studios, leaving nowhere for families to live. We need to ensure that newly built projects include sufficient affordable housing to accommodate families of all sizes.

  • We need to gather more information in order to allow council to make informed and innovative choices to address the housing crisis. This includes studying hidden homelessness, identifying the number of empty houses in Saanich, and updating the affordability threshold.

  • This past year the provincial government offered municipalities a portion of $291 million in supportive modular housing as part of the Rapid Response to Homelessness program. Municipalities only had to provide land for this housing, but Saanich failed to identify any for the program. People have already moved into units in Surrey and Vancouver, while here in Saanich they are living in tents. Council needs to advocate for a new phase of the program, and be prepared to take advantage of such partnerships.

  • Garden suites are one way we can tackle housing shortages in the District. I am following the ongoing public engagement on garden suites and am looking forward to commenting on the draft regulations that emerge from the study later this fall.

  • We can explore a range of options to encourage people to legalize existing secondary suites, including:

    • Reducing parking requirements.

    • Developing an amnesty program for existing suites.

    • Making it easier for people to create or legalize existing secondary suites, while ensuring safety standards are maintained.   

​Intergenerational Communities

  • Social isolation and loneliness is a growing problem for residents of all ages. We need programs and public spaces that foster human interactions and contact. One of the ways we can do this is by creating a staff role dedicated to helping foster intergenerational connectivity.

  • Policies that help people age in place, such as the adaptable housing guidelines, which require accessibility and universal design principles to be included in projects, should be a priority for Saanich. 

​Building Great Neighbourhoods

  • We need to support mixed-use buildings throughout the District, with commercial spaces on the bottom and residential on top. This helps to support local businesses by centering dense, walkable communities around them. The Nigel Valley Project is a perfect model of mixed use development – compact, vibrant, and walkable, with services, businesses, and lots of affordable housing.​

  • Affordable commercial space is needed to support the development of local social enterprises, such as the Victoria Tool Library, which help our economy and community flourish.

  • Saanich needs a staff person dedicated to community building; someone who works to develop social capital between residents, neighbourhood associations, and the District. The City of Victoria has such a staff member, and they serve as a conduit to connect people with resources and help them overcome barriers to creating community. It’s time for Saanich to catch up.   

Arts and Culture

  • There is a pressing need for civic space in Saanich. While we have numerous locations identified as village centres, too many of these are malls and private property. The Nigel Valley Project presents us with an opportunity to create just such a space adjacent to City Hall. Here we should create a plaza, widen the Goose to accommodate greater traffic, and engage the community in developing a true Saanich civic centre.

  • We need to engage with residents, neighbourhood associations, developers, and civil society, to create welcoming spaces through public art and placemaking across the District. Increasing access to microgrants is one way to achieve this goal.

 

Protecting Farmland and Food Security

  • It is vital that we defend the urban containment boundary while protecting and restoring native ecosystems.

  • Saanich’s Urban Forest Strategy needs to be revised to include quantifiable targets for fruit and nut-bearing trees. Community orchards should also be considered for inclusion in existing landscaped parks. By working with local businesses and organizations (such as LifeCycles) we can ensure that the harvest from these trees are fully utilized within the community.

  • We should develop a microgrant program to help people living in multi-family complexes build community growing spaces, and revise our existing boulevard gardening bylaws to remove barriers to placemaking and gardening. 

 
  • More enforcement is needed to ensure compliance with existing and future speed limits. Saanich should consider a range of proactive and innovative enforcement measures, including:

    • Working with police to ensure they have the resources they need to adequately enforce road safety laws.

    • Working with the province to investigate the use of automated speed cameras on rural and urban streets.  
       

Safe Streets

Make our streets safe for everyone through smart design, reducing speed limits on secondary roads, while enhancing, expanding, and connecting our cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

Safer Speed Limits

  • Speeding vehicles on quiet residential streets are a hazard for people, property, and pets alike. Saanich should reduce speed limits on all residential streets from 50 km/h to 30 km/h, and investigate reducing speed limits on collector streets to 40 km/h.

  • Temporary traffic calming measures can be introduced through pilot projects and evaluated using robust metrics to determine whether different options, tailored to suit the community, are appropriate for long-term use.


 

Smart Design

  • Many road conflicts and safety concerns are the result of poor design. We can implement smart design elements to reduce these risks - for example, curb extensions require vehicles to slow down when turning at intersections, thereby increasing safety for all road users.

  • Responding to data from BikeMaps.org, our Active Transportation Plan, and the public can help us identify problem areas, and implement pilot projects to determine the best design solutions for our community.

  • All Saanich residents deserve the ability to safely navigate our communities. Universal accessibility design principles, such as raised crosswalks, safe curb cuts, and unimpeded sidewalks, should be implemented to accommodate all Saanich residents. 

A Future on Two Wheels

  • Saanich’s Active Transportation Plan is a bold plan with ambitious targets, and it will allow people of all ages and abilities to cycle safely in Saanich. Council needs someone who will champion the implementation of this 30-year plan.

  • Saanich’s bicycle parking guidelines were written in 1996 - they are outdated and do not reflect current bicycle usage in our community. Bylaws should outline the number of required bike parking and storage spots for residents and visitors in multi-family dwellings and commercial spaces.

  • We need to support and expand bike education and road safety programs for all road users. 

Designing for Pedestrians

  • Many streets in Saanich, such as Maplewood Rd. or McRea Ave., do not have sidewalks, which makes them unsafe for pedestrians. A sidewalk is defined as something that someone in a wheelchair or with a stroller can safely use (see Active Transportation Plan, p.33, 1A.3). We need to accelerate Saanich’s plans for sidewalk installation, beginning in school corridors.

  • To make sure that pedestrians can safely cross busy streets, we need to increase the installation of pedestrian controlled crosswalks where necessary.

  • We should explore the possibility of creating Woonerf style streets in Saanich. These are “living streets” where vehicles travel at walking speed and pedestrians have the right of way. 

Supporting Transit

  • NextRide will provide arrival boards to increase confidence and reliability. This will be a major step forward for BC Transit riders.  

  • Plastic lawn chairs in rural Saanich, or a sign next to busy streets, are not acceptable bus stops, do not encourage ridership, and do not accommodate the needs of a diverse and aging population. We can remedy this by working with BC Transit to ensure safe, secure, comfortable bus stops throughout Saanich, adding more bus shelters, benches, and installing secure waste receptacles that do not smell or attract wildlife.

  • We need to work within the CRD to support dedicated bus lanes and secure a leadership position for Saanich on these projects. 

 

Good Governance

Contribute to a Saanich council that works together to make sound decisions using the best available information and inclusive public consultation.

Inclusive and Meaningful Consultation

  • We should design meaningful and ongoing consultations to capture the views of as many diverse groups as possible.  

  • Using emerging and established technology (e.g. digital town halls) will increase access to consultations and create more opportunities for citizen participation in decision-making.
     

Evidence-Based Decision Making

  • Exploring innovative solutions using pilot projects, and following up with strong assessment methods, will give communities the information necessary to make the best long-term decisions.  

  • Using data from a range of sources will help council make better-informed and more transparent decisions. 

Proactive Bylaw Compliance Monitoring

  • Complaint-based bylaw enforcement puts the burden of enforcement on the community. Following up on complaints is necessary, but Saanich should also work to proactively monitor bylaw compliance by:

    • Employing weekend and evening bylaw enforcement officers.

    • Directing bylaw officers to monitor compliance in key areas (such as noise, truck routes, and light pollution) and engage in proactive enforcement where appropriate.

  • Demystifying the process of obtaining permits and inspections for projects will increase bylaw compliance while improving the user experience for Saanich residents.

  • The District should improve services by tracking response times and working to ensure that quick action is taken to resolve complaints and requests. 

Tackling Pollution

  • Noise is more than just annoying - it negatively impacts our health and our quality of life. We can take action to manage urban noise by:

    • Banning gas-powered leaf blowers, which also helps to limit greenhouse gas emissions, particle pollution, and soil degradation.

    • Updating Saanich’s Noise Suppression Bylaw and ensuring that bylaw is adequately monitored and enforced.

  • Banning plastic bags is a positive step, but Saanich can be a leader on addressing plastic pollution by banning other wasteful single-use plastic consumer products. 

Taxes

  • Saanich should focus on increasing our tax base, not increasing taxes. Increasing density in core areas and developing small, locally-owned commercial spaces will help Saanich’s economy flourish and increase tax revenues.

  • I will champion a program to give people the opportunity to make voluntary contributions to municipal programs, ranging from affordable housing to public art projects. Toronto has a similar program that raises around $20,000 annually.

  • Every year, Saanich gives away over $2.4 million in the form of permissive tax exemptions (see p. 80) to a wide range of organizations. Many communities (including Victoria) require organizations to pass a public benefits test before a tax exemption is granted, but Saanich currently does not, and this should be addressed.  

Amalgamation

  • Taking the time to obtain more information will help the public and Saanich council make the best possible decision for our community.
     

If you would like to know my position on a particular issue, or would like to get in touch for any other reason, please don't hesitate to contact me.