Dec. 13, 2019 – City Hall Victoria Centennial Square, Christmas (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Meet your candidates in the 2020 Victoria byelection

General voting day is Dec. 12

The City of Victoria is holding a byelection on Dec. 12 to fill the councillor seat left vacant by Laurel Collins when she became the MP for Victoria.

Victoria News asked the 11 candidates: What do you believe are the biggest issues facing Victoria? Their answers follow below in alphabetical order.

Stephen Andrew – Victoria News did not receive an answer back from this candidate by press deadline.

Rob Duncan – I see the biggest issues facing Victoria as housing – in particular, the residential rental market crisis and the problem of homelessness – and the planetary climate emergency. The rental market crisis can be alleviated through introduction of vacancy controls and expansion of the city’s inclusive zoning policy. The homelessness crisis should be addressed with purpose-built housing designed to meet the needs of people in supported housing, rather than repurposed old motels. I suggest a wide variety of initiatives the city should undertake to address the climate crisis, from electrifying the bus system to banning gas-powered leaf blowers.

Riga Godron – Victoria News did not receive an answer back from this candidate by press deadline.

Stefanie Hardman – COVID has driven the largest public health and economic crisis in a century, making it difficult for residents and small businesses to make ends meet. The pandemic is exacerbating challenges we were already facing. Families are waiting years for childcare. Seniors and others on fixed incomes are being left behind. Housing prices continue to increase, pushing people out of our city. Hundreds of people now shelter in parks because of the shortage of affordable housing. I believe we can rebuild our city to be stronger than before COVID — but only if we work together for a just and sustainable recovery.

Bill Heflin – The biggest issues are: Public safety – We need to clean up our parks and streets. No one likes being accosted by a mentally challenged person or a substance abuser. Council should step back and let the professionals we hire deal with these people. A complete ban on camping in our public spaces is necessary. Let us house people by nature of their problems. Zoning – Huge developments are being approved without adequate consideration of improvements to infrastructure. We have had water rationing before. Proper green space and green building should be required.

Jason Heit – has announced his intention to withdraw and says he is instead endorsing Stephen Andrew rather than risk splitting the vote. However, Heit’s name will still appear on the ballot.

Sean Leitenberg – I believe safety is the most important issue facing Victoria today. To achieve this, we must support the Victoria Police Department. Camping is not a solution for the homeless. Specialized housing for drug addicts and a safe environment for those requiring additional support needs to be built. Victoria needs affordable housing for our working families. We must help rebuild the downtown. Shop owners are now helpless to stop theft from their establishments or to get locals downtown. I know how difficult it can be to keep the doors open. With each business lost, so are jobs and tax revenue.

Hailey Mcleod – I think the biggest issue facing Victoria is affordability. We must be do everything we can to make sure people’s basic human needs around housing are met. Some things we can do include using mixed-use zoning to increase housing densities outside of the downtown core, restricting Airbnbs to greatly increase the current supply of long-term housing, and making sure affordable housing projects receive support and that they are actually affordable. We also have to work with the provincial government to fund social housing programs, transitional housing, and mental health services for those currently in unhoused.

Keith Rosenberg – has announced his intention to withdraw but missed the deadline to officially do so. His name will still appear on the ballot, although he is not campaigning.

Alexander Schmid – Among the many issues facing Victoria, the crime rate ranks high in the minds of citizens. The Victoria Census for the Metropolitan Area (CMA) reported the second-largest rise in the crime severity index (CSI) of all CMAs in Canada. We are actually leading the country in terms of property and drug crime. These are related, since addiction to drugs leads to break-ins. Yet there are suggestions in some quarters to de-fund the police! I will oppose such absurdities. As for the addiction problem, it can only be solved by recognizing it and treating it as a medical issue.

Roshan Vickery – The greatest issues in Victoria are the lack of affordable housing, the ongoing homelessness crisis, and lack of small business support. The homelessness crisis has intensified due to the pandemic compounded with the ongoing opioid crisis. The lack of affordable housing is another concern created by commodification and market forces that have made the city unlivable for many. Finally, Victoria’s small business community is contending with ruthless external forces created by the pandemic, exorbitant property taxes and the sudden disappearance of tourism. As a city councillor, I will work to solve these issues with compassion and reason.

ALSO READ: Candidates finalized for Victoria byelection

• • • • •

Advanced polling available

ahead of Dec. 12

There are eight advanced days of voting, all of which will be held at Crystal Garden Dec. 1, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 2 and 7 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

On Dec. 12, eligible voters can vote at any of the following locations: James Bay Community School, Oaklands Elementary School, Sir James Douglas Elementary School, Da Vinci Centre, Crystal Garden or at Victoria High School. An accessible voting machine will also be at Crystal Garden on general voting day.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Dec. 13, 2019 – City Hall Victoria Centennial Square, Christmas (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Just Posted

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. (Black Press Media file photo)
TRAFFIC: Protest occupying one lane of Douglas Street southbound

Extinction Rebellion activists are marching from Vancouver to the B.C. legislative building

One person has been arrested following an assault on a man with Down syndrome along Dallas Road April 17. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man with Down syndrome attacked along Dallas Road

Suspected assailant arrested, sent to hospital for mental health assessment

My FED Farm, created by Food Eco District (FED), is aiming to help people affected by the COVID-19 grow food in their own back yard. The program is in collaboration with Sooke Region Food CHI, Transition Sooke and the Sooke Garden Club. (File - Black Press Media)
Sooke backyard food program returns

The Sooke Backyard Food Program is returning for a second year. Sooke… Continue reading

Colwood resident Maria Curcic shows off a one-of-a-kind hat that she created. Curcic is one of several artists that took part in the annual Stinking Fish Studio Tour. (Contributed - Maria Curcic)
Curtain closes on Stinking Fish Studio Tour

The Stinking Fish Studio Tour will live on through the lasting legacy… Continue reading

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

Pub patio in Victoria reopens with widely spaced tables, June 2020. Restaurants and pubs across are restricted to take-out and patio service only until May 25 at the earliest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Don’t travel outside your region, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to target people ages 40+ in ‘high risk communities’ with AstraZeneca vaccine

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

Most Read