Saanich Families Vote
Saanich Municipal Election - October 20, 2018
In advance of the October 2018 municipal election, Saanich Neighbourhood Place engaged candidates running for council and mayor in Saanich to share their vision for supporting young families. Candidates were given two-weeks to respond to the following questions:
1) Child Care: Affordable and high quality child care encourages children’s healthy development and supports caregivers to enter and remain in the workforce. Currently, Saanich does not have enough child care spaces to support the need in our community.
Question: If elected, what will you do to help increase the number of child care spaces in our community?
2) Affordability: As a community resource serving Saanich for over 25 years, Saanich Neighbourhood Place sees the growing impact of income inequality and lack of affordability for families on a daily basis. Families are increasingly feeling the squeeze to meet the daily needs of their households. Research has long demonstrated that income inequality is detrimental to children’s health and development. Growing income inequality in BC is recognized as a threat to the health of both individual children, youth and families, as well as to communities as a whole.
Question: If elected, what specific actions will you take to make Saanich more affordable for families?
3) Belonging & Connection: Research shows that a sense of connection to the people and places where we live is central to building happy and healthy lives, and is associated with better physical and mental health. Families with young children often report feeling socially isolated, while also reporting a strong desire to connect to other families and their broader communities.
Question: If elected, what would you do to make our community more family and child-friendly beyond what is currently in place? What strategies do you envision to increase connections between families, children, and other community members in neighbourhoods?
This document contains the responses received from all candidates who submitted answers. We are grateful to candidates who were able to take the time to share their vision for families in Saanich. Although requested, no written responses were received from Cory Montgomery, Ian Jessop or David Shebib.
About Saanich Neighbourhood Place (SNP): SNP has a 25 year history of providing services to the community through its vibrant neighbourhood house and family resource centre located in the Pearkes Recreation Centre. Due to demand, we have recently opened a second location, the Royal Oak Neighbourhood House (located in the historic Royal Oak School House). We are a hub for community & family programs in Saanich, and see on average 2000+ Saanich families through our doors each year. To learn more about our programs & services, please visit our website: http://www.saanichneighbourhoodplace.com/
Questions related to this document can be directed to JoAnne Gordon, Community Engagement Coordinator, by email email@example.com or (250)360-1148
Question #1: Child Care
If elected, what will you do to help increase the number of child care spaces in our community?
I agree that affordable and high quality childcare encourages and supports caregivers to enter and remain in the work force. My understanding is there is a definite shortage in Saanich although I have not found much research on this subject. I understand that people are leaving the profession because of stress levels and low pay as well. I think the best approach is to start a conversation via a forum on the issue, with various licenced and non licenced day cares throughout Saanich and invite the Provincial government to the table. We need firstly to identify the existing ones and possibly invest in more space centred around schools and recreational centres.
I would work with groups like the Child Care Resource & Referral Centre as the provincial government to help find ways to get more child caregivers to get into the labour force and lobby the senior levels of government for funding for both training and grants to help cover the cost to renovate a space that will be used for child care spaces, (similar to the home improvement renovation tax credit).
As a teacher and father I am fully aware that we need more child care spaces in Saanich.
I eagerly supported the Saanich Neighbourhood Place proposal to provide more daycare space and would welcome other similar opportunities to help create child care spaces in Saanich.
I would also support using our Saanich facilities (ie. recreation centres) and work with community groups to creatively provide more daycare spaces for children. I would also look favourably on developments that included daycare provisions for families.
I also would be willing to work with the province and the federal government to support a provincial or national childcare program.
I recognize this problem. Saanich does not have enough childcare spaces to support the families in our community. This needs to change and if elected I would like to lead the municipality to address this. I am already working on this and will amplify this work as Mayor. Having raised 3 boys with my wife Cathy, with no extended family near us, we depended on daycare. The families of today, with two incomes or more needed to afford a house, struggle even more. Current daycare can cost $850 - $1,200/month, if it’s available. Costs are exacerbated by high demand and lack of supply.
We need more: infant and early childhood daycare, after school care, drop in daycare, drop-in for older children & teens. Specifically, we need to bring together school boards, the province, parents, licensed daycare, non-profits, Faith groups, advocacy groups and the municipality, Parks & Rec to find the solutions.
Saanich Neighborhood Place provides an example of the municipality supporting parents. In addition to onsite daycare there are programs ranging from parenting classes to cooking classes, drop in support sessions, prenatal discussion groups, postpartum groups, drop-in playgroups and kindergym.
Working with the province we need to improve supply of qualified staff and resources. The solution is to work with all stakeholders.
Some examples of action areas:
Staffing Outdated regulations Increase funding support Improve wages to keep quality staff Subsidies for high needs children and low income families Venue availability and licensing Resources for home daycare – education and support Locating near easy access locations – transit corridors and centres
This is not a municipal responsibility. We could encourage developers to consider child care spaces within new development.
I would support rezonings or temporary use permits to enable more day care locations to open. I would also support initiatives to have the school districts provide space on site for childcare.
At every All Candidates meeting the topic of Density has come up and along with it transportation as with increased density comes increased traffic. The same is likely true regarding child care, with increased density is the likelihood of increased family size and a need for increased childcare. Over all I believe this to be a Federal and Provincial issue but that said, the municipality can be proactive to lend a voice and be a leader in this area. When developers are looking to Saanich and Council is looking to community amenities, childcare could be sought for families and/employees.
If elected I will advocate for > investment into creating more childcare spaces. Ensure adequate funds are budgeted and find more. $$$$. More family centres needed too.
Will help to make the development process for creating more Childcare Services less onerous. Will work to make the process more convenient and efficient. Advocate for prioritization of these types of development applications. Expedite Pearkes arena application and other applications as they relate to childcare centres within the UCB. Prezone for Childcare and family services? Plan ahead so process & paperwork can be done partially in advance. Yearly- review of areas that need Childcare spaces and related family services on a priority need. Create plan, budget and work plan. Communicate to families. End of year-measures of success? Plan adjustments? Investigate the use of public school land as as potential location for more childcare services. Will maintain ongoing appreciative inquiry and relationships with my voters to stay in touch with needed services.
I will support programs for children at our Rec Centres, along with summer park camps and other initiatives.
I see a few possible municipal roles to help increase the number of childcare spaces and believe Saanich should recognize this as a priority and consider all of them:
making land available either directly through public land or indirectly by enabling appropriate zoning, by streamlining permitting and licensing processes (e.g. putting applications for child care at the front of queues and/or waiving fees), and by entering into partnerships with non-profit childcare providers to help projects financially through a variety of possible tools (permissive tax exemptions, securing debts, or providing support to secure provincial funding as was recently accomplished through a multi-agency partnership with the City of Victoria to secure new spaces on elementary school properties).
As mixed-residential buildings with ground floor (or higher) commercial spaces are built-in Saanich, opportunities for child care businesses to open will appear.
However, with high market rents, it can be difficult for these child care
businesses to establish themselves.
With that in mind, council plays a critical role in the development
process and needs provide financial incentives for developers to create
commercial spaces that meet the needs of the community by focusing on the
services that the community is lacking.
If re-elected, I will set priorities like increasing child care spaces and
incorporating them into the planning process, so we can build up the
services that will lead to a supportive and healthy community.
At this year’s Union of BC Municipalities meeting there was an announcement of $17M federal and provincial money to expand child care spaces in BC municipalities. I would like to use my close to 20 years experience in the provincial, ministerial, legislative and public service areas to ensure we leverage those funds to benefit Saanich and our families. There is land available in Saanich to build more child care facilities and we need to ensure Saanich’s voice is heard at the intergovernmental levels to make more spaces available.
The lack of available, affordable child care is an issue for Saanich as well as for the region. I understand the need to provide childcare especially when one or both parents are working. My family is now grown-up, but I recognize that today parents have to factor in the cost of child care as part of their budget. The child care providers also must run a business and manage what is a specialist area. If I am elected mayor I would look at how we can provide more childcare spaces by perhaps offering incentives to those businesses. Some are operated from private homes. Some are not. Should we look at child care as a particular business category? I am very interested in how we can develop facilities for childcare as part of housing developments - an integrated service like health care or activity/exercise. We can learn from best practices from around the world.
Saanich definitely needs more child care. I hear again and again that other municipalities are doing a much better job at supporting young families. I will work towards developing a policy, similar to Victoria, that works in cooperation with Saanich’s community associations and other groups to help fund and support initiatives that will increase child care in order to keep it affordable and accessible. We can work closely with other organizations, such as VIHA, to reduce unnecessary bureaucratic roadblocks. I will work to appoint a municipal staff member to address the needs of young families. I will create an advisory board that can directly address these concerns and work with the municipality to identify ways to improve the accessibility to child care, for example, there is an opportunity to work with the School Board to access unused space and utilize it for parent drop-in groups or afterschool care.
Healthy families are critical component of achieving a healthy community. Quality and affordable childcare is a prime factor ensuring that our families are in a position to provide for their children and know that the children are in caring and professional day care. Local government is closest to the people and the natural ally to represent their needs to the provincial and federal governments as they have the resources and mandate to provide spaces and develop quality day care professionals.
Teale Phelps Bondaroff
Saanich does have a role to play in supporting the emergence of new childcare spaces in so far as zoning and land use are concerned. I am a strong proponent of mixed use buildings and am keen to ensure that in addition to affordable housing, that we also endeavour to include affordable commercial space in new developments. This will provide spaces which can accommodate new child care facilities.
Child care spaces are largely a provincial responsibility, and fortunately a major priority for our current government. We can encourage the provincial government to prioritize child care through the Union of BC Municipalities.
Two cursory notes before I dive in:
We lost our amazing caregiver of 4 years to demoviction. The issue is salient. Let us not forget that “demand side management” approach to the problem of supply constraint on child care spaces could include things like “dads/moms or grandparents/others staying at home, away from work, with young ones”While this issue lands firmly on the “prov gov” policy area, that does not mean local government cannot have meaningful influence.e.g. performance based business licence fees: say you choose $35/day as affordable, and provide financial incentives, pro rata, to providers.
e.g. zoning for daycare.
e.g. daycare in rec centres, through Saanich Rec (even partnering with schools, as is done for e.g. Volleyball - i.e. perhaps gyms for after school care)
e.g. property tax exemptions (fungibility assumption: owners pay ECEs more, attract/regain more, creating lift of spaces available).
e.g. clear CAC policy that nudges daycare services near family housing.
I will work with other council members, staff, stakeholders/partners, and the provincial government to find ways to move on ideas (like) those above.
I will motion toward the UBCM a resolution for changes to the governing legislation to make certain aspects possible: eg differential Mil rates variable by zoning and “what you wanna see happen there”.
I would like to take a long term approach, and push for the following actions;
1) Review current bylaws concerning child care providers and be such bylaws/zoning reflects our current needs.
2) Assign a staff member to be a 'Child Care Provider Advocate' to help to streamline the process.
Zac De Vries
Gender equality and equality of opportunity are vacant constructs if we continue to deny the women of Saanich, who play a central role in the raising of children, the childcare to which they are entitled as a right. If I am elected I will not only lobby the provincial and federal governments to develop the social policy we so desperately need, but work with partners at the local level to provide immediate results. We can partner with Schools and our rec centres to make more spaces available, and with UVic and Camosun to ensure that we have trained early childhood educators to staff them. We need to take leadership, and incentivize the creation of childcare spaces across Saanich; childcare spaces need to be part of new developments.
Question #2: Affordability
If elected, what specific actions will you take to make Saanich more affordable for families?
Zac De Vries
Cities for everyone gave my platform an ‘A’ for affordability. The two main components of Affordability is housing and transportation. Housing and Transportation should not exceed 45% of someone’s income, but all too often it does, significantly so, and other areas of life suffer and lead to the negative consequences of income inequality. I would address Affordability by championing walkable neighborhoods and vibrant villages and take leadership on transit in order to reduce the transportation costs for families. I will reinvigorate planning in Saanich in order to optimize our spatial dimensions in a way that delivers positive outcomes for affordable housing in a form that is conductive to families.
I believe the best long term, sustainable path to affordable housing is a modern, efficient transit system.
I would support a Transit Commission for entire Capital Region.
In the short term I support Garden Homes, with conditions, residential infill, with restrictions.
Back to UBCM resolutions (for BC muni’s! It’s a provincewide issue)...
progressive property tax (vs. Currently “flat tax” on housing, which is a human right) ...e.g. the first $100k in assessed value of a primary residence* is tax free: exempted as “personal allowance” …* could increase (harmonically) by number of primary resident tenants. (There would be a Revenue Neutral shift, thus the “marginal rate” above the allowance threshold would be higher, and yes this would negatively impact homes, eg valued over a million bucks) Do the same thing with other human rights, like Drinking Water. Eg 10,000 Litres per primary resident.
Back to child care…
Property tax exemptions (or variable rates as per above) for parents/grandparents staying at home taking care of other people’s kids for free, but in a LNR complaint regime.
#SmartGrowth (honestly, for long term, this is our best bet! Along with regional transportation authority).
Give the residential construction development industry “market certainty” and assurances (e.g. through Pre-zoning).
… and say: in Saanich our priority is to build:
Along these (urban/rapid transit) corridors. “Missing middle” housing types Sold to locals first. Parking divorced from unit sales
“Smart Saanich Card”
all residents issued annual credits. Multiple rec centre activities, including drop in swims, classes, etc. Annual allowance of paid parking credit (more paid parking in Saanich- be conservative: save money… “live smart: you choose, you save” Annual allowance of transit trips, especially off peak trips for weekend activities. Incl. U-bicycle and other TSPs Annual allowance of “bike service” discounts from participating #SmartSaanBiz small local enterprises. Each family gets one free park birthday party reservation per year.
Teale Phelps Bondaroff
The Capital Region Housing Gap Analysis shows that there is an extreme disconnect between the supply of non-market housing and people’s incomes. While there is an overabundance of housing supply for those with a high-income, low and mid-income groups are suffering from a severe lack of supply. We need to take a variety of approaches to increase the non-market housing supply, including moving forward on secondary suites, garden suites, and making sure that affordable housing in new developments are not just studios but can accommodate families of all sizes.
Active transport is another major priority for simultaneously making transportation more affordable and safer. The cost of owning and driving a vehicle is close to $10,000 a year, and as a result, any effort we can make to help people drive less will improve affordability.
I will champion the implementation of this bold and ambitious Active Transportation Plan, which aims to make walking, cycling and public transit 50% of all trips in Saanich by 2050. Of critical importance is making these modes of active transportation safe for all ages and abilities, so that parents feel confident utilizing active transportation with their children.
Affordability for families as it relates to housing and services is an ever increasing stress factor for parents as they seek to ensure a strong foundation for their children. There are some things that local government can do to assist in housing affordability particularly as it relates to encouraging a greater range of housing options. We must be ever creative and keep dialogue open to find partnerships that work for families. Many of the factors regarding affordability that impact on Saanich family’s needs to be discussed with levels of government that have more levers to handle the growing needs.
Affordability is a very serious concern among the residents of Saanich in general, and with young families in particular. Along with supporting more affordable childcare options, I will work to ensure that we have the housing needed to support the young families that would like to call Saanich home. I will also work to explore the option of tax exemptions or decreases for young families in order to ease the burden of making ends meet. We can reduce municipal fees that apply to providing child care which will make it more attractive to those people that would like to provide that child care.
There needs to be social equality particularly in the support of children’s health and development. This needs to be a discussion that the Provincial Government must be part of because of the financial and tax implications - personal income. I am an economist and understand the economic benefits of being supportive of childcare spaces.
Through a proper, well-established economic development plan, Saanich can ensure more revenue generation for the municipality. This will allow for more allocation of taxpayers’ dollars to supports and services for those most in need. We could use the funds for the creation of child spaces, better recreation services at lower costs, work towards supporting local sports and arts association with grants to allow for free access for our youth. I would be interested in sitting down with local organizations like Saanich Neighbourhood place to hear more about their ideas on further solutions.
Housing becomes less and less affordable with every year. One of the contributing factors is the construction cost which has far outpaced inflation.
Saanich has fallen behind for two reasons:
Saanich hears every application twice. This is not the standard practice in most municipalities and means that only half the applications can be approved in the council term.
If re-elected, I will reduce the number of duplicate meetings to allow more affordable housing to come forward, more quickly.
Affordable housing sits in the application queue behind market-rate housing.
If re-elected, I will fast-track affordable housing projects to the front of the queue as a community priority so they can be considered first.
I would like to prioritize increasing the availability and diversity of housing options (including rentals) to ensure families who wish to live or stay in Saanich can find something appropriate for their needs. Tangible examples would include more three+ bedroom units in condos and apartment buildings, building townhouses/duplexes that are more affordable than single-family homes, and also considering permitting things like garden suits and tiny homes that could help young families with high mortgage costs while also adding to our housing supply. I have lots of thoughts on how to get from A to B that I’d be happy to discuss in person Sunday!
Ensuring housing is located in areas where young families have multiple transportation options is also a critical aspect of affordability. In my social network, I’ve noticed that many young professionals and families are only managing to live in this region by forgoing the expense of a personal vehicle – or two in the case of many families. That means we need to ensure they have access to other viable modes of transportation, particularly better transit service, but also safe walking and cycling routes. Using an integrated transportation and land-use planning lens for growth and new housing going forward will also position Saanich to create more complete neighbourhoods that have commercial centres to provide jobs, services, and opportunities to interact with others. We won’t get there overnight, but we need to move more quickly toward that vision. I think more vibrant neighbourhoods are also critical to addressing the concerns raised below in question 3 that relate to connectedness.
I will support diversifying our housing market and creating new forms of affordable housing, such as garden suites, coop housing, duplexes, rental units, and smaller, more affordable homes. I will also work towards increasing on-campus student housing at UVIC and Camosun, so that it's easier for young people to move out and start their lives in safe, affordable housing.
Housing and Affordability are at the top of my platform.
-encourage density in areas with existing services (inside UCB) which will contribute to savings in transportation.
-advocate for affordable childcare within close proximity to Saanich urban centres.
-insist upon inclusionary, market and pre zoning for affordable housing.
-plan, budget and develop communities with families and affordability in mind. -Safe streets and neighbourhoods. Community Placemaking.
-increases developer amenities to assist in funding more childcare and family services.
-ensure adequate child care and support services for families
I support more affordable housing and transportation, in order to provide security, mobility and opportunity for people with all incomes and abilities. Affordable infill (more compact housing types, such as multiplexes, townhouses and low-rise apartment buildings, within existing urban areas) is often opposed by neighborhoods who want to preserve existing conditions. While I am supportive of affordable infill, I believe we should be looking at these on a case by case basis and at a wide variety of options because I do not believe all options will be a good fit for all neighbourhoods. That said, I am disappointed that our beautiful city is unaffordable to many individuals and families. A single parent for many years, I understand some of the struggles -- more than just the financial aspect -- which many people are struggling with. I believe residents deserve a safe and affordable place to call home be it an apt, townhome, of single house dwelling and want to look at options that will make live more affordable for current Saanich residents and those that would like to call Saanich home.
Income inequality is a serious systemic issue that goes well beyond the capacity of any municipality to solve. This is an area where serious provincial and federal assistance is required. One thing that we can do to aid with income inequality is in the area of housing affordability. Saanich needs to ensure that whenever possible, new housing developments include attainable and or affordable rental units.
We have an established “Life Program” that provides recreational programming at a reduced rate, based on income.
We have created policies that allow secondary suites as mortgage helpers.
Minimum wage standards are Provincial issues.
Affordability is impacted by cost of living and income. We need to think how to reduce costs of living, such as housing and transportation, and at the same time, improve the availability of well paying jobs.
Saanich can do a better job to improve cost of living by having more attainable housing in locations where people can live, work and play. Attainable housing means diversity of options.
We need more rental housing, co-op housing, subsidized housing plus market housing that starts at the $300,000 - $4,00,000 range. We are already seeing developers bring forward more rental and housing in this range. Saanich is already working on inclusionary housing, where new multi-family developments will have a certain percentage of housing that is affordable. This is both for rental and market housing. This is a start.
Saanich just approved the Nigel Valley project which brings forward a wide array of housing. For example, 440 rental units, up from 128. This is in addition to supported and assisted living. Meanwhile the municipality only receives 8 cents of every tax dollar. Clearly we need the Province and Federal governments to step up – and for Saanich to get its fair share.
For co-op housing, we need more attention from the Federal government. This could be an extension of the 2015 You Hold the Key campaign I worked on with the BC Co-op Housing Federation. I brought forward a successful recommendation to council to use Pre-zoning for rental to help accelerate its arrival. This would be in areas where our corridors and centres have amenities for transit, local shops and services. Being able to live work and play locally has potential to reduce travel costs from an average 19% of income to below 9%. Reducing commute times gives families more time together.
To reduce land costs, Saanich has moved forward on small lot single family homes and detached suites. I was pleased to bring these forward to council. We are also seeing more townhomes, duplexes and fourplexes in single family areas. For the future, we need to embrace the need for higher density along our corridors and village centres. This means increasing height to reduce unit costs. As we do this, it’s imperative we retain and grow green spaces, for the planet and for our personal enjoyment.
Improving Incomes: The sad truth is that home ownership for working families now often requires two incomes plus a suite. In Saanich we are seeing new homes come forward where suites are included. This helps more young people get into the market.
Affordability relates to income. I was pleased to help create the South Island Prosperity Project. This is a collaborative economic development effort. Within two years it is already bringing positive impacts to local companies that collectively employ 5,000 residents. Improved job security and income has been a result.
Saanich has just approved a more extensive economic development plan. I am hoping this will enable us to increase the economic vitality of our business cores. Moving forward, having jobs here in Saanich and housing in Saanich increases the affordability. Plus it gives more family time by cutting commutes.
Recreational and community services are a part of family expenses. Saanich already provides family discounts when requested. This needs to be continued and expanded as needs indicate.
Affordability is definitely an issue and I agree we must all do as much as we are able to address this challenge. However, this is also an issue we need to address as a province, country and world. I believe Saanich can be proactive and do its part to make life for families more affordable.
I believe there are three ways Saanich Council can help.
-If we allow for housing density, in the right places, we can provide more housing which should lessen the demand for housing. This will help address the costs of housing.
-We must grow our commercial tax base. By growing our commercial tax base we can lessen the load on residential taxpayers and reduce the taxes needed to fund our municipality’s services.
-Efficiencies and partnerships. Saanich must look at its programs for efficiences and be willing to consider working with community and business groups to provide cost-efficient services.
By using a balanced approach to development. We need to ensure collaboration on transportation and land-use decisions so that we increase density along our major corridors (Shelbourne, Tillicum, Quadra, Mackenzie) and at our main transportation hubs (Uptown, Royal Oak). By doing so we will be creating a more liveable, walkable community. The increased density will help slow down and gradually lower the cost of a new housing unit, much like in any technology the more that’s on the market the less they will pay for it.
Saanich Neighbourhood place has done a great job for 25 years in providing a valuable community resource for families of all walks of life. And yes, there is no doubt you have felt the economic squeeze. Families are having a tough time out there. That situation is very clear. And the median income for owning a house is over $110,000 which points to a segment of our society having a very difficult time owning or event renting a home. I see expanding our housing base, so there are more options for housing for families, such as duplexes, triplexes and townhouses. I also would like to see increased rental accommodation and more legalization of secondary suites and the exploration of laneway housing as options.
The other part of the equation is generating higher income jobs in a diverse economy which will allow people to afford increasingly expensive homes. We need to invest the infrastructure that families need through walkable, liveable and sustainable jobs.
Question #3: Belonging & Connection
If elected, what would you do to make our community more family and child-friendly beyond what is currently in place? What strategies do you envision to increase connections between families, children, and other community members in neighbourhoods?
Connectedness is very important in healthy communities. Connecting at the local level needs to be lead at the local level. In addition to neighbourhoods creating local activities, such as block parties, etc., a combination of community association activities and fuller use of the schools should be a focus of creating that connectedness. When community associations are hosting community events, Saanich supports these by providing services and activities to add to the fun and encourage families to attend. Saanich Parks and Rec also provide programmes to engage and connect young families with one another. Many groups, such as Saanich Neighbourhood Place, are also instrumental in nurturing this connectedness, and Saanich provides grants each year to support these efforts.
Like with other areas of public engagement, healthy communities and social development: we need to utilise our parks and rec facilities more. (You saw a snippet of ideas above already).
… should each be assigned a councillor, on rotation, to keep the politician tied to the heartbeat of local issues, the locals interested in a “actually relevantly” society, and therefore the voice of the young family/generation won’t be drowned out by all the typical “old busy body blue hairs” (tongue in cheek!!).
… through community associations meeting performance benchmarks, they will receive more funding from Saanich District (with councillor support!) to do things like pay for group insurance policies so that, e.g. Bouncy Castles are not prohibitively expensive to rent due to liability insurance.
Parks! (This is a uniquely Trevor4saanich SmartSaanich item…)
Beer in parks. Yes honestly… adults should be free to responsibly enjoy a beer or wine with a meal at a designated picnic table/area, in a specified set of Saanich Parks, May-Sept, noon-sunset.
What this does:
Safe places for families to connect with each other are vital to health and well-being. I am in favouring of preserving and improving green space within the city that support a healthy lifestyle.
In addition, Saanich Rec Centres are struggling to keep up with the demand and it’s time to plan for their expansion, especially at Cedar Hill and Gordon Head.
If re-elected, I will shift Saanich’s facility master planning to include a family and community focus.
The issue of connection and belonging is a priority for me. Coming from a family of immigrants I am acutely aware of the benefits of interconnecting with your neighbours, friends and families. I would encourage more opportunities for “social hubs” where people can meet, plan, collaborate and learn about each other. This would be a major pillar in my proposed Livable City Plan. This is another area I would discuss further with local residents association – I am a director on the Gordon Head Residents Association – and organizations like Saanich Neighbourhood
Zac De Vries
I want to ensure that everyone has access to a quality urban or rural life in Saanich. It was to find answers to this very question that drew me to study Urban, Health, and Development studies at Uvic. I would champion a tactical urbanism focused on addressing physical and mental health. I would look to expand public spaces to resist areas of social interaction becoming exclusive goods. We need more places to play, belong, and connect in Saanich. I want to empower residents to engage in placemaking in our community and really activate our public realm. The best way to foster social interactions, community, and a sense of belonging is by agglomerating amenities.
An appropriate first step in this direction would be establishing a Youth and Families Advisory Committee to advise Council on how to better serve and engage these under-represented groups in our municipality, which I plan to advocate for if elected. (The City of Vancouver has one (see the Terms of Reference:https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/pdf/committees/cyfa_administration_-_Terms_of_Reference.pdf which has representation from youth as young as 10!)
I’d like to see more progress in implementing the actions recommended in the Youth Development Strategy approved by Council in 2015, and also an increase in the service offering (e.g. through recreation centres) for families with younger children (e.g. <5). Saanich Neighbourhood Place is filling a huge gap in this space, but I believe there is much broader demand for these services and would love to see expansion to more Saanich neighbourhoods. I would also like to see the municipality play a more active role in finding and working with partners to create more year-round community events throughout Saanich. The summer Music in the Park series and the Cadboro Bay Festival provide great opportunities for young families to connect with others in the community and are clearly a fantastic avenue for inter-generational interactions that help contribute to sense of belonging.
I recognize that young families tend to be missing from the dialogue in Saanich not due to lack of interest, but because they don’t have the luxury of time to participate and give voice to their needs and priorities. While I hope the above strategies will help remedy that challenge, if elected to Council, I will also do my best to bring that lens to decisions so we can ensure that young families feel welcome and part of our community fabric in Saanich, and even more fundamentally – to ensure they have a future here.
I would push for purchasing King Park and retaining all current green space and parks. During this campaign I met many elderly women and men. That got me thinking about something Teals said about loneliness and the elderly. I would like to promote a program which records interviews with various elderly persons throughout Saanich. Ideally the ones asking the questions would be school children, but it could be anyone. Talking at doors I hear of trips to Europe in the 60's, past work, Mother and Fathers that moved to the area 100 years ago. So many stories, so much history. Wouldn't it be wonderful to record it.
I believe Saanich is family and child-friendly but that we can always do more and work with families to provide more opportunities to create positive community experiences. I support enhancing programs and programming at our parks and recreation centres where families can come together and connect with each other. I support ensuring our Saanich facilities are accessible and welcoming to all ages and that families are encouraged to bring their children to Saanich events.
As to strategies:
-I would welcome the concept of providing daycare at Saanich events where parents can participate and have their children taken care of.
-I would support Saanich developing inter-generational programming where younger and older adults could support each other.
-I think Saanich could work further with community associations to offer playgroups, community events and neighbourhood events to build community.
This is very important. Communities that are welcoming and inclusive and socially active are crucial to supporting physical and mental health. This is one of the reasons I co-founded the Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market. Saanich really supports community events. Events like Music in the Park are a great way to bring the whole community together. Although these activities are very successful, they tend to be concentrated to the summer months. We need more activities and events that support community connectiveness all year long. It is important to me to create opportunities where people and families can connect and continue to build a healthy community. I will continue to create new opportunities as a Councillor.
If elected, during my term(s), I would do everything I can to see change and improvements made to Saanich to see my 10-25 year vision for Saanich attainable. My vision is to have residents and visitors say Saanich is the best place for families, students and retirees to live on the South Island. I would like to see more initiatives come to fruition, making Saanich healthier, more affordable for homeowners, renters and businesses. I would like to be able to proudly say my time on council, working cooperatively contributed to meaningful change in Saanich. More immediate wins would be to protect the green spaces and parks it already has and see additional green spaced added in conjunction with increased density. More of a long term goal, my BIG dream for Saanich is to partner with First Nations, on a vision of a Saanich Wellness Centre -- similar to that of the Songhees Wellness Centre -- one that offers wellness programs that include primary health clinics, pre and post natal care, vaccination clinics, injury prevention training, chronic disease prevention and management, oral health, and facilitated fitness and recreational programming and child care. In my vision, this is centrally located in the heart of Saanich.
Teale Phelps Bondaroff
Community building is at the heart of my platform. With community, neighbours look out for each other and take care of the places they care about. I am active in community-building and placemaking and over the past year I have been heading up the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network’s Pocket Places Project. This project is principally dedicated to mapping, supporting and propagating little free libraries across the region. I have helped people to set up dozens of their own little free libraries, and delivered over five thousand books around the CRD. On Saturday, October 6th, I was very excited to attend the ribbon cutting of the 200th little free library in the region.
Through this work, I was pleased to cooperate with the City of Victoria’s ‘street team,’ and happy to learn Victoria employs a staff person whose job focuses on community building. Every time someone in Victoria wanted help setting up a little free library, this fantastic staffer would connect us. They would assist people in identifying micro-grants to help get community projects off the ground, and point people in the right direction in order to obtain permissions or permits necessary for beautiful community initiatives to occur. In essence this person's job was to remove barriers to community building. When I asked them who their counterpart was in Saanich, I was disappointed to hear that there was none.
Saanich needs a staff person dedicated to community building; someone who works to develop social capital between residents, neighbourhood associations, and the District. Someone to serve as a conduit to connect people with resources and help them overcome barriers to creating community. I would hire such a staff person.
Social isolation and loneliness is also 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. Another important thing to do is to ensure that vibrant public places are included in new developments, particularly in our core village areas. As well as ensuring that these developments are walkable and include mixed use developments.
And finally, we need to encourage the development of intergenerational housing, daycare programs in retirement communities, and co-housing, so that people of all ages can benefit from living together.
I propose that we create a FAMILIES IN SAANICH (FIN-CHINOOK SALMON) MAGAZINE/ GUIDE highlighting a cohesive community. Inclusive, cohesive and connected. WE WILL FACE CHALLENGES TOGETHER!
I think we should have a Saanich Family Magazine . FAMILIES IN SAANICH (FIN-recreation theme-health-environment) that lists opportunities, events, builds community, outdoor recreation and ecological restoration, it offers education, has a entrepreneurial-marketplace section, coupon savings, crafts and highlights playgroups, childcare spaces, lists playgroups going on all over Saanich. Items to sell. Lists health tips, cooking tips and a catalogue of other services to access.
Do we have a Saanich helpline?
Spirit of Saanich- Monthly Potluck (Christmas?)
-community/family dinners where families can connect and meet other families. Kids can meet and play with other kids. With roads so busy this is a way to reconnect.
We are always looking at ways to create and innovative with our programming. Increasing inter-generational programs and creating ways to have neighbour to neighbour connections.
We know from our own child rearing that loneliness and isolation can be part of the child rearing experience for young parents. One solution is to ensure neighborhoods have drop-in centres where parents can connect with other adults who are in similar stage of life. Children and parents make friends at these places, sometimes creating lifelong friendships. Ideally these are walking distance or on easy access routes.
Drop in centres for connections are also places to provide education on early child rearing best practices. We know that the first three to six years of childhood are critical for development. This could include guest speakers, group activities and projects. Getting connected doesn’t have to be elaborate. Things like meet-up groups for young parents can informally connect people and address the need for connectedness and belonging.
Once connected networks are established parents can lean on eachother for support. They can share child minding, spell eachother off, get friends’ advice – and exploy the joys of parenting.
As the Secretary of the Mt. Tolmie Community Association, I have helped organize family friendly community events, and build community in my neighbourhood. If elected, I will continue to support and help organize community events, I will support our Community Associations and work to ensure each neighbourhood has it's own community centre and quality sidewalks so that families can safely walk to amenities, parks, and schools
Supporting parents in their desire to provide for their children is a responsibility of an entire community including government, not for profit organizations, faith communities and the community at large. Saanich does an excellent job of providing free entertainment and gathering places throughout the summer months at music in the park, community events, and celebrations. All family members regardless of age are encouraged and generally find these events do not have a cost factor. They do however provide socializing opportunities with other families. We need to be creative and reach out to ensure that all members of our community feel connected. There are obvious potential connections between schools, recreation centres and seniors centres as we build on an established network. It is critical that Saanich stays people centred community and that the scale of living is one that supports families and does not contribute to isolation.
Along with the new developments Saanich requires public amenities whether it be in the form of cash or could be in the form of outdoor green spaces and playground equipment, or indoor space that could be used for community meeting place, or childcare. I would like to see neighbouring developments pool their amenity contributions so that say one offer up some land for a playground and the neighbour buys the playground equipment.
My answer to this is reflected in Q1. I would like to explore how we can develop facilities for childcare as part of housing developments and neighbourhoods. Social isolation is experienced by all ages and I believe strongly in bringing people together and building communities. This creates an organic network by itself. We just have to think in a more holistic way so that our social connections benefit families and everyone in our community.
A recent survey in the Vancouver Sun indicated how loneliness has become a major issue in our society and has lead to shortened lives. My feeling is that the generation of family events bring communities together be it a Block Watch party, a community bbq such as the Tillicum Gorge one or the Saanich Fair or the Strawberry Festival are kid friendly events we must encourage more of.
I am in favour of more family friendly events of this nature. Activities centred around sporting events and the arts build a sense of belonging to ones community could be a start…And there are many other strategies for building community and pride in Saanich. I am sure we could get the involvement of the various organizations such as Saanich Neighbourhood Place, to build stronger connections between families , children and other community members.