Some Other Ideas

> Support the call for a value-for-money AUDIT of the Johnson St. bridge replacement project.

> Seek additional funding for the Johnson St. bridge project from other levels of government.

> Cancel the planned replacement of the Crystal Pool facility (for which the anticipated financing hasn’t materialized) in favour of renovating the existing building as needed, including adding elevators. Renovating the existing pool rather than building the planned replacement would save a number of large trees in Central Park (consistent with the policy of increased protection for urban trees, as outlined below on this page). Another possible component of a Crystal Pool renovation could include an outdoor calisthenics park, a relatively low cost facility that would enhance fitness and provide free recreation (as in Chicago,  Los Angeles, Miami, Paris, Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Port Angeles, among other places).

> Council should pass a resolution opposing the use of waterways adjacent to the City of Victoria for the export of petroleum products.

> Mayors and Councilors should be limited to two four-year terms in office.

> Creation of DOWNTOWN GREEN SPACE. The City should look for opportunities to acquire modest-sized plots of land in the downtown area to convert to parks and green spaces.

> Increased protection for URBAN TREES. The urban tree canopy, where it exists, is an important part of the urban environment, creating shade that becomes more important as climate change proceeds, and helping to keep the city’s air clean. This canopy should be preserved and enhanced by protecting existing trees and planting new ones. Council should place restrictions on the falling of trees in the City of Victoria.

>  Council should pass a bylaw banning plastic drinking straws. (Compostable paper straws and reusable metal straws are available.)

>  Council should pass a bylaw banning non-compostable plastic and styrofoam drinking cups. (Compostable plastic and paper cups are available.)

> Greater FOOD SECURITY through promotion of URBAN AGRICULTURE (backyard market gardens, City-organized fruit picking, seasonal neighbourhood markets).

> Greater FOOD SECURITY through mandating of FOOD SALVAGING BY RETAILERS AND RESTAURANTS and enhanced integration with local food banks. (It’s estimated that 40 % of food in Canada is not eaten but thrown out.)

> The syringes provided to injection drug users as harm reduction supplies should have RETRACTABLE NEEDLES. This will eliminate the problem of people accidentally getting jabbed with discarded needles, a goal which clearly outweighs the additional expense compared to regular non-retractable needles. According to the Victoria Police Department, 37,000 syringes were provided through harm reduction programs over a six month period.

> Victoria needs more safe(r) consumption sites for intravenous substance use. These facilities are too few and far between in our community, and their hours of operation are too short. SAFE CONSUMPTION SITES SAVE LIVES.

> Faster access to DETOX PROGRAMS, and meaningful support after discharge, including housing in an appropriate situation without delay. Too often, people who have succeeded in getting off drugs are discharged from detox into precisely the same social environment that sustained the habit they want to overcome, resulting all too frequently in relapse. The housing component is an important piece of a logically-planned detox system. People are frequently discharged from detox programs to simply return to street life, staying in shelters under circumstances that drive them back to their old addictions, or to return to a low-barrier supported housing site replete with old social contacts and powerful cues that are extremely challenging to overcome. Being placed back into the same social environment makes it much less likely that someone coming out of detox will succeed in beating his or her addiction. Instead, people coming out of detox programs should be offered housing in an environment without unnecessary self-defeating temptations and norms that encourage substance use, and should be able to relocate from unsuitable to more suitable, “dry,” drug-free housing. Low barrier housing is not a place for someone committed to continuing after the first steps of overcoming an addiction. In order to facilitate this kind of flexibility in housing, many more units of supported housing are needed, so there can always be a small number of vacancies to permit shifting people into more suitable housing – from low barrier housing to dry housing, and maybe the reverse at times as well, in order to preserve the integrity of the dry housing, if someone in dry housing begins using again. Detox programs can’t be expected to be effective when the system fails to provide the most basic aspects of aftercare.

> Advocate making medical-grade heroin freely available to all, to both address the fentanyl overdose crisis and undermine the black market for heroin.

> A mental health and addictions “hotline” – access to the full range of mental health services and detox services with a single call to a City-supported 24-hour phone line.

> A PAYROLL INEQUALITY TAX – A couple of years ago, the City of Portland, Oregon passed a new kind of tax, the first of its kind anywhere, levied on companies with a ratio of CEO-to-workers’ pay that exceeds 100 to 1. If the CEO gets paid more than 100 times what the lowest-paid worker gets paid, the company pays additional business tax. In Portland, if the CEO-to-worker pay ratio exceeds 100 to 1, the business tax increases by 10 %; if it exceeds 250 to 1, the business tax increases by 25 %. Cities don’t levy business taxes (i.e., corporate income taxes) in British Columbia; it might be possible that a tax of this kind could be levied through property taxes and business licenses, but what is probably more likely is that Council would work with the Union of BC Municipalities and through other means to persuade the provincial government to amend the legislation governing municipal taxation to allow for a payroll inequality surtax of this kind levied by the City. As in Portland, the proceeds of this tax would be directed toward City-supported anti-poverty programs, such as for instance a municipal affordable childcare program for low-income working families. A tax of this kind would have the effect of reducing inequality in our community.