The Issues

This is where I will be discussing my platform. It’s a place where people can easily find my stance on some of the most important issues facing Victoria. I’ll be starting with a quick overview of the basics and as time goes on I will be expanding and elaborating on the main topics and adding new ones. I began this brief list before the 2008 civic election but I will update it with new items, like the bridge and marina topics soon. I welcome your feedback.

Safety

My goal as Councillor is a visible decrease in criminal and anti-social activity on our streets within one year. I’ve spent a lot of time working with police, businesses and residents on practical ways to make Victoria safer but we still have a long way to go. I am committed to making a Community Court system a reality. There must be real consequences for people who refuse to stop preying on others. The Con Air program must be strengthened so Victoria will no longer be seen as a safe haven for criminals.

Homelessness

The new Streetlink shelter scheduled to open in 2010 will play a play an important role in combating homelessness but it is only a piece of the puzzle. We must also,

  • maintain the Extreme Weather Protocol shelter funding
  • follow through with Council’s commitment to build a new, more functional replacement for the Streetlink Shelter
  • expand opportunities for innovative supportive housing and counselling to prevent people from returning to the street once they exit prison or rehab.

The causes of homelessness are numerous and complex and likewise there is no “one size fits all” solution. Beware of politicians who claim otherwise. I’ve met and worked with many of the service providers endeavouring to fix homelessness and I’m prepared to continue working to end homelessness as Councillor.

More on homelessness, addiction and crime here.

Affordable Housing

A wide variety of housing options for low-income citizens is needed and should include a mix of market and non-market (subsidized) choices. But building new housing stock in this category is expensive and time consuming, requiring creative design and cooperation from multiple funders.

My goal is to encourage the development of several market rental housing developments in Victoria, including the Downtown core. I’ve talked with developers and architects and they are motivated to get started but right now, despite innovative design and financing solutions, the numbers aren’t adding up. If Victoria shows initiative in this area, it will show the Federal Government that we are willing partners in the effort to build entry level rental housing for working class residents. The money exists but the Feds won’t build it for us–this can only be possible on a wide scale with the assistance of all levels of government along with creative thinking from City Hall, architects and developers. And it won’t mean changing the valued single-family-dwelling type housing neighbourhoods we treasure. I believe we should set a goal of 200 market rental housing units by 2011 in Victoria to ensure the City remains inviting to those from all income levels. Other solutions include the creation of new subsidized housing like the kind recently created in Fernwood, although they are not the cheapest form of housing.

Read more of my thoughts on housing and smart growth on VictoriaVotes.ca

Belleville Terminal Strategy

The Belleville Terminal is most famous as the long-time home of the beloved Coho Ferry. Upgrades to this aging internation port are long overdue. Increased passenger loads and new U.S. security rules have increased the urgency in bringing this important portal into the 21st Century. Last year, I was invited to the advance background briefing to learn the results of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on the terminal’s future. I was shocked to learn the panel forecast the end of the Coho as a fixture on the Inner Harbour, saying the ferry has outstayed its welcome. I noted how the Coho owners were not invited to play a role in its future. I also saw how the panel was constrained by a limited terms of reference. I strongly feel that a passenger ship service like the kind the Coho provides has been an important part of Victoria’s past and will continue to be a vital part of our future. Much of the appeal of the Inner Harbour is that it is a working harbour and the loss of the Coho will have a devastating effect on the Harbour’s vibrancy. There are also significant environmental and economic impacts that would come from an eviction. I support many of the Panel’s recommendations, including initiating a land-swap with the City-owned Quadra After meeting with Black Ball VP Ryan Burles I came away convinced that any plan to revitalize the Belleville Terminal must be made in consultation with Black Ball Ferries. While Black Ball is the terminal’s most significant tenant, they were not included on the Blue Ribbon Panel. As Councillor, I would support revisiting the Terminal Concept as soon as possible and building upon the Panel’s recommendations. All stakeholders must contribute to an outcome that includes large passenger ferry service as a key part of the Terminal strategy.

Transit

Unfortunately, this is another area where City Council has little influence. There are initiatives that Victoria can support, however. A realistic, workable goal for the next three years would be to introduce a free transit bus loop in Downtown on an experimental basis. It may be possible to fund this partially using City parking revenue. Proponents of the free bus loop claim drivers might be more likely to drop their cars off in parking facilities outside the centre of Downtown if a convenient bus could take them closer to their final destination. We also must insist BC Transit maintain strong services between Downtown and the nearby residential communities, particularly routes popular with commuters and seniors.

Government Street Closure

I would support the closure of Government Street from Humboldt to Yates to vehicular traffic on summer evenings for a trial period. Cross traffic would still be permitted and automated bollards would efficiently and safely control traffic at the beginning and end of each evening. Success would mean having the experiment supported by Government Street businesses.

The environment

I support the triple bottom line approach to development and will help Victoria meet its goal of carbon neutrality. This is an important issue for me.

Development

Read my responses to the Urban Development Institute survey here (.pdf)

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Glenn Harbison  |  October 7, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Robert, Please call me when you get a chance, at
    388 6905. Thank you

    Reply
  • 2. Geoff  |  October 15, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    I was just wondering what your opinion on downtown eatery hours, and whether closing them early is a viable solution to solving late night disturbances? As a youth who regularly goes downtown, I find City Council’s solution ridiculous, considering there was little or no consultation with anyone. I recently sent a letter to the Times Colonist, stating my opinion on the matter.I just want to know what you think some alternate solutions are that don’t punish businesses? Simple ones I thought of were increasing the amount of police officers at night and installing more portable urinals, like the one outside the Bay Center.

    Reply
  • 3. robertrandall  |  October 17, 2008 at 1:02 am

    Hi Geoff, I’ve barely scratched the surface of this tough issue but previous comments I’ve made can be found here and here.

    Reply
  • 4. Graham  |  October 25, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Hi Robert,

    You’ve got my vote. Seems like you’re in touch with reality.

    I like that you opposed the City’s ludicrous plan for the harbour – the Coho rocks. Also, having visited Montreal for the first time last summer, I think making Government St. pedestrian-only during the summer (but keeping the cross streets open to vehicle traffic) is a great idea. I strongly support the building of several high-rise apartment towers downtown to help ease vacancy rates.

    I’m dead against the proposed “Bar Watch” electronic monitoring program (very spooky, indeed). I’m also very irked by the City’s draconian attempt to force my favourite late-night eateries shut at 1am, and by the daft “nuisance” by-law. When elected, I hope you will oppose these measures.

    The problem of late-night hooliganism (which is way, way overblown by the media), could easily be solved with a more visible police presence downtown during peak bar/club hours. We need to hire about 14 more full-time cops.

    Oh, and I looooooooove green space and density. I think downtown needs about 10 more small parks, and many more big, beautiful, mixed-use buildings.

    Good luck, and thanks for running!

    Reply
  • 5. Danielle Hagel  |  October 30, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Rob,

    What are your thoughts on the recent Supreme Court ruling on emergency shelters, and the subsequent City bylaw prohibiting homeless from being in tents after 7am?

    Thanks,

    Danielle

    Reply
  • 6. robertrandall  |  October 30, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    I’m not a lawyer so I find it difficult to find the rational solution through all the opinion on the appeal.

    I am told the City had to appeal because the Community Charter we are governed by shouldn’t (or can’t) allow a judges decision to cost the City financially. So apparently the City is appealing in order to defend the integrity of the Community Charter so there are broader issues to think about.

    Reply
  • 7. Tamara  |  November 1, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Hi, I’m not a BC citizen, although in the past I lived there for about 4 years. Beautiful place, and after I complete my University degree, I am going to be moving out there to work in the mental health field. You def have my vote!!!

    Reply
  • 8. Carew  |  December 12, 2008 at 4:17 am

    How is making Government st. pedestrian-only in the summer a good plan when the sidewalks are already big enough to handle the busiest summer days and Government St. helps eases the congestion from surrounding Streets (like Wharf and Douglas)? Both Wharf and Douglas are bumper-to-bumper year round (even worse in the summer), so any relief we can provide vis-a-vis Government St. is obviously a good thing. As well, leaving the cross-streets open means it obviously won’t be pedestrian-only!

    Reply
  • 9. robertrandall  |  December 12, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Pedestrians are starting to spill onto the streets on the busiest summer evenings, especially with the large busking groups and sidewalk seating like outside the Bard & Banker pub.

    Drivers will be somewhat inconvenienced but I believe it would be a worthwhile sacrifice.

    Reply
  • 10. Carew  |  January 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    But why should driver’s have to be inconvenienced any further? Every time I turn around I see something to stop or slow driver’s down in this city. Traffic is already dead slow downtown (especially in the summer), and there is clearly a difference between the road and the sidewalk that the pedestrians should stick to. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you don’t drive much (if at all) Rob.

    Reply
  • 11. john  |  September 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Rob; Why are you not running for council in the Nov. 20 election.? You would be a shoo in, go for it!!

    Reply
  • 12. robertrandall  |  September 25, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks, john

    I have too much to focus on right now: my job and strengthening the Downtown Residents’ Association. But the next election is only a year away!

    Reply

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