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Answers To Questions

Questions To City Council Candidate, Stephen Andrew:

 

Question:

Are you running as an independent or part of the existing coalition? After reading your statement on line I could not see that information.

Answer:

Stephen is running as an independent and is not part the existing coalition. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact our office.

- Stephen

 


Question:

An issue that creates consistent and considerable angst is Rezoning

And adherence to Neighborhood Plans.

So if elected would you support building to existing zonings stringently, somewhat or very casually?

If elected would you support building to Neighborhood Plans stringently, somewhat of casually?

Victoria has a reputation for allowing many site specific rezoning.

What zoning and OCP changes do you envisage to change the city to more conform with your vision?

Answer:

Cities are always evolving. Neighbourhood plans and OCPs are meant to be living documents in the sense that they are to be revisited and reimagined on a regular basis.  If not then Victoria might still look something like this:

Zoning and rezoning are always contentious.  What is important is that when council consider a rezoning, all voices are considered, and I am committed to considering all points of view around issues, rather than be beholden to special interests or a small ideological group.  

What I would like to get away from is the ongoing spot zoning, resulting in something close to 1500 different spot zones in our small city.  Prezoning, OCP and neighbourhood plan updates designed to meet the current and future needs of the city in a holistic whole city approach.  What I’m saying is that the last person that moves into a certain area doesn’t get to pull up the drawbridge.  There needs to be recognition that the city has developed the way that it has to try to meet the needs that we have.  Farms made way for estates, which made way for single family homes which in some places have been replaced with smaller homes or apartment buildings or converted to multi family properties and so on.  At no point does change come to an end. Keeping neighbourhoods in stasis is unrealistic and unhealthy.  However it is important to maintain the character of our neighbourhoods and ensure that any development be complementary and value added.  This isn’t going to please everyone all the time but I think it large part it has led to the livable, walkable, lovable city we all live in and those are the goals that I’m going to work towards on council.

- Stephen

 


 

Question:

[Why can't] the city and perhaps together with Saanich can’t house the tenters in Topaz as was done earlier. It seemed to have the space, management and facilities?

Answer:

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking why tenters in Topaz cannot return to the park.

My understanding is the Province made the park an “exclusion zone” closed it to a “tent encampment”.  The order made the park unavailable for camping.

I’m also told that there are not sufficient resources to manage an encampment at the park  When they set the encampment up, they had a hard time finding a service provider and the solution they found was not suitable.  From my meetings with various agencies and service providers, the plan is to use a scattered distributed model.

I hope this provides the information you were looking for

- Stephen

 


 

Question:

I wonder how you feel about the 24hour camping in our city parks.  Especially Beacon Hill park. I’m interested to hear your stance on this important issue.

 

Answer:

Thank you for reaching out.  I do not believe camping in parks is an appropriate solution to shelter or housing. It’s not appropriate for those living in the park, those living around the park and those who wish to use the park. 

 

We are in a crisis and the situation is before us and we must find a solution.  

The argument where the people living in the park came from us irrelevant. We have a significant amount of unhoused people and it is only humane to help.  

How we do that appears to be up for discussion - why I’m not sure.  

We can see from the effort Victoria has marshalled so far, out City does have sufficient resources to mitigate the situation.  We need provincial, federal and regional assistance.   Housing is the primary responsibility of the Provincial and Federal governments and I would work with council and the mayor to aggressively find space and supports.   It is the only thing we can do. 

Once shelter and homes are in place, I would opt for a moratorium on park camping.  This does not mean “banning homeless from Victoria”.  Far from it.  We need a robust and sustainable system of emergency shelter.   

- Stephen

 


 

Question:

How do you feel about the bike lanes and future plans for them?

 

Answer:

I am a cyclist and a driver.  I use the lanes. I am not impressed with how they were rolled out and I see several flaws with the engineering.   

For instance, Wharf Street is a challenge and not that safe for cyclists during heavy traffic, I would like to see a “rolling curb” on the pedestrian side of the lanes, and I believe projects such as Richardson are not required.   

But, with the investment, the lanes are here to stay.  

I’d like to see significant  additional infrastructure around secure bike lockers and parking to increase ridership and ease of convenience to encourage more use.  I certainly don’t let my bike out of my sight when I go downtown - - or anywhere.  

- Stephen

 


 

Question:

[What about] coordinating street lights in that downtown core?  That would be so nice.


Answer:

We all have an opinion on this - and I can only speak from observation.  

As a driver, I do find I spend more time Idling, waiting at lights and stopping than before.   I certainly see examples of where a light that has an “advance green” now has no cars to make the turn, whereas before it has three or four.  So there appears - and as I say it’s observational - we need to take a look at that. Hope that helps. 

- Stephen

 


 

Question:

Do you support the direction of the current council?

Answer:

No, I don’t support the direction of the current council.  There seems to be little direction at all beyond lurching from issue to issue. The past two years of the current council have led us to where we are today, feeling unsafe, unfocused and very concerned about the future of Victoria.

From a governance perspective, having a strategic plan that incorporates more than 150 priorities is the same as having no strategic plan at all.  

From a fiscal perspective there seems to be little regard for the residential and commercial taxpayer, who seem to be regarded as having an infinite capacity to absorb tax and fee increases.  

From a pubic safety perspective there seems to be little focus on making Victoria safe for all residents, from being unwilling to appropriately fund Vic PD and forcing the province to step in and order them to do so to the disaster that has become of the 24/7 camping bylaw.

This election really is about whether we want two more years of this same kind of governance, or whether we think Victoria should be moving in a different direction.  I believe we need to move in a different direction for all Victorians.

- Stephen

 


 

Question:

What are your top three priorities?

 

Answer:

My three areas of priority are public safety, smart planning & development and fiscal responsibility.  It is important to understand that these issues are all interconnected and include several different issues within them.

Public safety is top of mind these days and is a complex issue.  Public safety includes providing adequate funding to police services, investing in social and mental health issues, and holding senior levels of government to account for funding and service delivery obligations that exist within their jurisdiction.  A safe community is an inclusive and supportive community.

Fiscal responsibility includes developing a workable budget that sees the city stay within its means and avoid funding pet projects or fanciful boondoggles.  It means being responsible to the taxpayer and citizenry and understanding the capacity for tax and fee increases is not infinite.

Smart planning & Development encompasses a host of important issues.  Streamlining the development process.  Delivering city programs effectively and efficiently.  Finding innovative and aggressive ways to deliver more housing to the city, both market and non-market, both ownership and rental.  Developing transportation plans and infrastructure that promote a healthy city. 

I’ll sneak in a 4th one, which is supporting the diverse, vibrant and productive Victoria arts community.

- Stephen

 


Questions Regarding Trees and Development

 

Question:  

Will you work to ensure Development Services staff prioritize the retention of mature trees in all their discussions with development proponents?

 

Answer:

I support the city’s urban forest master plan and recognize the importance of the retention of mature trees when considering development proposals.

 

- Stephen

 


 

Question:  

 Consider the following scenario:  a development variance request to reduce required setbacks would result in the removal of ten bylaw-protected trees.  Would you 

  1. a)  support the request if it increased the supply of rental housing?
  2. b)  visit the site to assess the situation?
  3. c)  require the proponent to redesign the building without the need for mature tree removal?

 

Answer:

I would rely in large part on the staff and variance board to provide sufficient information about a particular situation to make an informed decision as I doubt that a binary tree or housing choice would present itself.  I might visit the site, but being neither an arborist nor a building engineer there is little that I could personally contribute to such a discussion, beyond the underlying idea that both rental housing and the urban forest are important to the vibrancy of Victoria.

 

- Stephen

 


 

Question:  

Will you actively work toward establishing a culture at the City in which trees matter and are not just seen as an impediment to development?

 

Answer:

I think with our commitment to the urban forest master plan, the amended tree protection bylaw and the UN trees in cities challenge commitment, all of which I support, Victoria already has a culture of not viewing trees as simply an impediment to development.  I would work to support this perspective.

 

- Stephen

 


 

Question:  

The City is committed to increasing rental housing. It is also committed to protecting the urban forest and fighting climate change. Currently, the development process is resulting in hundreds of mature, protected trees being routinely removed to make way for buildings with large footprints, presumably to increase densification, mostly with market-priced condos and market-priced rental apartments. The CTMN is very concerned with this trend, and the seeming lack of any real checks and balances to protect the urban forest.

 

Answer:

Is the protection of the urban forest a priority for you?

There will inevitably be conflicts between the natural and built environments.  I am of the opinion that we can balance the two competing needs by recognizing that each is important, but not necessarily to the exclusion of either.  As much as we need housing of all kinds, we need a healthy natural environment, and the urban forest is critical to achieving that goal.  So yes, the protection of the urban forest would be a priority.

- Stephen


Showing 3 reactions

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  • Amy Chang
    commented 2021-10-29 15:17:59 -0700
    This answered a lot of my questions. Thank you. And that historical map of Victoria BC is truly beautiful.

    Your have my support!
    Much respect,
    Amy
    https://www.theappliancerepairpro.com/
  • Larry Lewis
    commented 2020-12-01 17:58:36 -0800
    Hello – Recently, the proposed development at the corner of Cook and Pendergast streets was rejected by council due to a the lack of an affordable housing component in the proposal.
    Theoretically, If you were to vote on an issue such as this, would you have supported this development or not?
  • Hd Phillips
    commented 2020-11-28 16:46:12 -0800
    Does Stephen liuve in Victoria?