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 architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Saanich has awarded the tender for a youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive to Bike Track Ltd. for $242,000. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich selects company to build youth bike skills track at Tripp Station Park

More than $240,000 allotted for Bike Track Ltd. to design bike park

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head inmates in Metchosin receive their first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Dallas Road

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Most Read