newcouncil.ca CHARTER

Democracies require highly capable representation

We are Victoria citizens of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives.
We want a City Council that embraces thoughtful and respectful debate.
A Council that listens
and considers the diverse interests and needs
of the electorate. A Council that makes decisions based on
objective research and clear
evidence, rather than ideology.

What We Want for Victoria:
  1. A safe, clean and inviting city for residents and visitors.
  2. A focus on Victoria’s core services.
  3. Fiscal responsibility that is respectful and spends taxpayer money as would a thoughtful trustee.
  4. Candidate and elected representative transparency and action that doesn’t cater to special interests.
  5. Decisions made based on clear objectives, broad community input, best practices and solid evidence.
  6. Trustworthy and responsive communication mechanisms that assure all Victoria citizens are heard and acknowledged.
  7. An appropriate stock of affordable housing that addresses the needs of existing neighbourhoods.
  8. Social housing that is safe, responsible and respectful of existing neighbourhoods.
  9. Fair and even enforcement of laws and by-laws.
  10. A smart and accessible transportation plan that recognizes all forms of mobility including the reality that cars are still a fundamental form of transportation.

Top 10 Attributes of a New Council or Mayoralty Approved Candidate

We have consulted Victoria citizens, and this is what they have said they need and expect in candidates and elected representatives: 

  1. Is committed to balanced representation of interests; putting Victoria’s citizens ahead of special interest groups.
  2. Has integrity in actions and is committed to transparency regarding relationships that might cause conflicts of interest.
  3. Is open to new ideas and able to think critically; demonstrated ability to listen, hear and act on what they hear from constituents.
  4. Is able to tolerate constructive criticism.
  5. Is committed to a non-partisan approach to decision making for Victoria regardless of their personal alignment with existing provincial and federal parties.
  6. Has a record of community involvement and personal contribution to improving the City of Victoria.
  7. Has sufficient financial competence to oversee and make informed decisions on behalf of the electorate.
  8. Has a strong understanding of the role of municipal government and how it relates to the roles and mandates of provincial and federal levels of government.
  9. Has broad practical experience and proven competence in major decision making on significant issues where real consequences exist.
  10. Is articulate on major issues and is electable.

Financial Guidelines & Promises

newcouncil.ca is committed to improving the City of Victoria by replacing the current City Council in the October 2018 Municipal Election.  This group of citizens is not a Political Party and is not incorporated as a Society or registered as a Charity.  The work of this group to build a base of volunteers, promote a better Victoria, and support new candidates requires some funds to achieve its goal.  We have developed some spending and transparency guidelines as we are committed to being completely fair and transparent about the support being received and the spending to be incurred.

Fundraising Guidelines and Promises

  1. We will raise funds through crowdsourcing and donations from people who support a better Victoria.
  2. We will not accept contributions from organizations, corporations, and/or unions.
  3. We ask that only individuals who are a resident of B.C. and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident make contributions, to follow the spirit of the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.
  4. We will not accept more than the $1,200 Local Elections Campaign Financing Act donation limits, even though we are not a Party or Candidate organization and are not bound by this legislation.
  5. All funds received will be accounted for, and the donor source will be recorded, though kept private.

Spending Guidelines and Promises

1) All funds spent will be accounted for and detailed records maintained.

2) No funds will be contributed to any Candidate’s campaign.

 3) Expenses to be covered will be:       

  • newcouncil.ca website and other software application costs;
  • Rental & other ancillary costs for large meetings;
  • Office supply costs;
  • Banking or other financial fees;
  • Advertising and promotional services and materials to promote the goal of newcouncil.ca, the endorsed candidates, and a better Victoria;
  • Any regulatory or legal costs that may arise, though none are expected.

4) Expenses shall not include ANY compensation, under any circumstances, to buy services from, pay, hire, or otherwise engage members or volunteers of newcouncil.ca.

5) Any remaining unspent funds after the October 20, 2018 Municipal Election will be donated to the ‘Friends of Beacon Hill Park Society’.

Reporting Guidelines and Promises

1) A Financial Statement will be published to show Income, Expenditures, and any account balances remaining twice before the elections, as follows:

a) Transactions up to June 30, 2018; posted online on July 15, 2018;

b) Transactions up to September 30, 2018; posted online on October 15, 2018.

2) A Financial Statement will be published to show finalized Income and Expenditures and posted online on November 15, 2018.

Chicken Council

If ever there was a reason to want better leadership at Victoria’s City Hall, it’s over the issue of 100 chickens. Due to my involvement in newcouncil.ca, a friend asked if I can meet Chantal and Phil, who have the most fence space shared with the owner of the Rockland property who has given 100 chickens a new home.

Since approximately 2003 this owner has tried on multiple occasions, without success, to either develop or subdivide her property that is excess of 2 acres.  These efforts have been considered inappropriate not just by the neighbourhood, but by every City Council. Two days after her most recent application to subdivide was refused by City Council, she hatched her chicken plan. She says it’s not about retaliation, but it’s about her desire to feed her poor tenants eggs. Ok, so let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and get that application going to give her the 2018 Victoria Citizen of the Year for her philanthropy.

Regardless of the motive, she has Victoria’s mayor and councilors to thank for doing absolutely nothing to help out people who live near this property. Every other municipality around here has strict limits on the number of chickens, the care and amount of chicken compost allowed, and the set-backs where you can keep the chickens. This is important not only to prevent excessive noise and smell from bothering the neighbours, but to protect everyone from disease and pathogens (including E. coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium) contained in chicken feces.

This owner has put about 60 linear feet of open-pit compost bins right up against the property of Chantal and Phil, and there’s no indication what she’ll do with the chicken litter. The coups themselves are right under the noses of several tenants living in apartments in converted mansions. The purpose of legislating “set-backs” for chickens and composts from the neighbours is to say, “if you like chickens so much, then YOU live with the chickens, the smell, the feces, the noise and the rats, but not your neighbours.”

Victoria councils and City administrators have been warned about this problem for years by animal control experts, but have chosen not to act. And so far this present council has done nothing.

Oh sure, they’ve talked ad nauseam, for hours, proposing resolutions, amendments, sub-amendments, and talking how about a 12 chicken limit (did someone look at a dozen eggs and decide “if that’s how they’re bought, let’s go with that number!”?) And instead of making a common sense decision, they’ve fobbed it off on the Urban Food Table, a group that doesn’t allow any public consultation.

Chantal and I were on Adam Stirling’s show on CFAX on March 29th (listen here). Two chicken farmers called in to say get ready for the rats, other vermin, and very noisy chickens…something Chantal and Phil have been saying – to deaf ears of this council – from the start.

And get this: Mayor Lisa Helps, has decided to recuse herself from the debate and any vote to bring sanity to this ridiculous situation, because she has 3 chickens! You know what? If the council was voting to do away with all chickens, or perhaps less than 3, then maybe, maybe, she could excuse herself from showing the leadership we need from her. But they aren’t! At the moment, they are considering a cap at 12. Where, oh where Mayor Helps is the conflict?? And of course Mayor Helps didn’t recuse herself from the vastly over-budgeted bike lanes debacle even though her bike is now her main form of transportation.

Folks, we want common-sense leadership, plain and simple. If this council thinks there are other related issues to be addressed, then hold off those finer points until later. But in the meantime, any reasonable person can see there are 3 things they can do right now:

  • 1.     Limit the number of chickens per property to 12 (for whatever reason is the 12, it’s way better than a ridiculous 100)
  • 2.     Keep the chickens & coops away from the neighbours with enforced set-backs at the property line. Or follow the example of Saanich, which regulates according to property size.  On this property, the setback would be 150 feet from all property lines.
  • 3.     Have standards for limiting the amount, and keeping the chicken feces from attracting unwanted vermin

If this mayor and council are so chicken to resolve a simple problem like this, then they don’t deserve your support on October 20th, election day. And if you think this just affects Chantal & Phil, remember that anyone, for any reason can do the same thing on their property – right beside your home or apartment.

We just wish Mayor Helps and this Council would embrace common sense to protect law-abiding tax-paying citizens in the same way Mayor Helps embraces chickens.

Join us in our desire for a common sense, reasonable Victoria City Council.

Progress Report

We want to keep you informed of our progress in getting a new Victoria City Council. The NewCouncil.ca committee has been working tirelessly, getting us closer to our goal of finding candidates who will run in the October 20th municipal election.

On February 20th we held our second consultation meeting. This meeting was in addition to our first meeting held in January and both were a great success. Victoria citizens gave us their constructive suggestions for the qualities they are looking for in a mayor and council. Soon, we will have a summary of those meetings, and the principles set out in these meetings will let prospective candidates know if they want to join our campaign.

To keep you up to date, here are some things we want you to know…

  1. We are working on a process for the selection of a slate of candidates. We have a full list of people who have shown an interest in running and we want the best qualified people to put forward to Victoria’s voters. If you, or someone else comes to mind, please let us know. These are important jobs.
  2. We are starting to get the word out, even before we have candidates. People are thrilled that there’s a dedicated group of people willing to bring positive change that is so desperately needed at City Hall. We’ll soon have a new website and you can find us on Facebook and Instagram by typing in newcouncil.ca.
  3.  For those of you who have volunteered, we’ve been in touch with some of you and will be in touch with everyone. In fact, our new volunteers are doing just that. Stay tuned.

There are more than eight months before the election. We’re not going to rush into a process just to get anyone to run. By consulting Victoria voters, taking our time to vet the best candidates, and building not just a solid slate, but a solid, committed group of volunteers and campaigners, we feel we have a great chance of getting the kind of Victoria City leadership we want.

 

Guiding Principles

IMG_20180311_164810Without these being set in stone (as we want significant input), here are four guiding principles we hope prospective candidates can agree to:

Accountability

City Council must respect the general good and not act in concert with their personal agendas or give undue support to special interest groups.

Public safety

City Council must prioritize public safety in all decisions and this includes empowering police, bylaw and other regulatory bodies to enforce all applicable criminal, municipal and provincial laws.

Community Development

The City of Victoria has a unique look and feel. Development should reflect this uniqueness. Decisions should be made based on expert advice and a reflection of the balanced needs of the entire community that respect the hard work put into the Official Community Plan, not special interests. Historic value, green space and usability for all citizens must be prioritized.

Fiscal Responsibility

Municipal governments should focus on core services. Spending on projects outside of core services or in the jurisdiction of other levels of government should be limited. The City of Victoria needs to refocus its spending priorities and keep property tax increases under the rate of inflation. And for long term capital expenditures, it must stay on budget.

By the end of January 2018, we hope to have our first large-scale meeting, open to those looking for the same improvements to the way our city is run. We will be taking our time to find good candidates and will not feel rushed to get just “anyone.”

We encourage some people from our survey who have taken a “wait and see” approach to what we are all about, to go back to the survey to add their names to the many who have done so thus far.