October 13, 2016

Council Highlights provide a snapshot of the progress made on City programs, initiatives and on Council decision-making. For more information on each initiative, please visit the accompanying link where noted. We welcome anyone who would like to receive Council Highlights to email us at engage@victoria.ca.

Greater Efforts Introduced to Monitor Reduced Speed Zones
The City will be focusing greater efforts on monitoring and enforcing the lowered speed limits to 40 km/hr and 30 km/h that were introduced last year along several streets in Victoria. Speed-reader boards will be placed in strategic locations and the reduced speeds will be more broadly promoted.  Speed control elements will continue to be introduced in future street designs for these and other required corridors.  In order to reduce any potential delays to transit, the City will continue to work closely with BC Transit.

City Submits Input to Inform the Federal Government’s National Housing Strategy
Next week, the City will be submitting the Victoria Housing Strategy to inform the Federal Government’s new National Housing Strategy.

The City’s feedback will be submitted under the category of Affordable Housing, and will consist of a copy of the Victoria Housing Strategy 2016-2025, which demonstrates the City’s commitment to taking action on this issue within its capacity, along with a covering letter outlining where the federal government’s support is required to improve affordability in Victoria.

Some of the recommendations include increasing the share of non-market housing as a proportion of total housing supply, developing strategies for first time home buyers and affordable home ownership, and a system that takes into account the specific needs of First Nations individuals. The City will also encourage the Federal Government to create a National Housing Strategy that is flexible and funds locally developed solutions.

Update on Skateboarding Regulations
In February, a bylaw was changed to allow skateboarders on downtown streets, but maintain the prohibition for skateboarding on sidewalks. Since February, the priority has been to educate skateboarders regarding the new bylaw. To address concerns about continued skateboarding on sidewalks, VicPD and Bylaw Services staff will be focusing on greater educational awareness as well as greater enforcement, starting this November.

City to Work With CRD on Enhancements to the E&N Rail Trail
The City will be working with theCRD to engage owners of the private lands designated at "Railway Corridor" in Victoria West to complete the installation of the E&N Rail Trail from Esquimalt Road to Victoria Harbour as soon as practicable.

The City will also work with the CRD in completing detailed design of the trail on the City owned land between Bayview property and the Galloping Goose Trail/Johnson Street Bridge and report back to Council.

Council has also expressed interest in further exploring the viability of commuter train service on the E&N corridor between Langford and Victoria as an inter-municipal service, or under Victoria Regional Transit Commission as a commuter train sub commission.

New Review Structure for Strategic Plan Grants to be Piloted in 2017
The City will soon be recruiting for external committee members to review Strategic Plan grant applications. The intent is to appoint committee members with expertise in the areas related to the strategic plan objectives most commonly referenced in grant applications to date. Those objectives are:

  • Facilitate Social Inclusion and Community Wellness
  • Create Prosperity through Economic Development
  • Nurture Our Arts, Culture and Learning Capital
  • Enhance and Steward Public Spaces, Green Spaces and Food Systems
  • Engage and Empower the Community         

The Committee and the new grant review process will be piloted in 2017 and the external committee will recommend grant awards for Council’s consideration in early 2017.

Third Party ATMs Permitted in Storefront Cannabis Retailers
Staff will bring forward amendments to the Cannabis-Related Business Regulation Bylaw to enable cash machines (ATMs), operated by third parties, in storefront cannabis retail shops.

Rezoning and Business Licence applications are currently being accepted at City Hall and operational requirements are now in place.

Committee of the Whole Participates in Emergency Program Workshop
Planning for the event of an emergency from earthquakes, fires to significant windstorms is an ongoing function at the City. Over the past few months, the City has been reviewing its Emergency Management Program, industry best practices, and identifying strategies to increase the City of Victoria's emergency preparedness, planning, response and recovery which will contribute towards creating a safe and resilient city. Committee of the Whole received an overview of emergency management yesterday to bring them up to speed on the role of all levels of government in planning and the City’s role in activating plans when needed. In November, Council will participate in a table top exercise which will allow for enhanced discussion on the review of policy, responsibilities and expectations at all levels of the organization.

City to Submit Feedback on the 2016 Regional Growth Strategy
The City provided feedback on the CRD’s proposed 2016 Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) for consideration at a public hearing scheduled for October 19, 2016. The feedback confirmed that the RGS is consistent with the City’s Official Community Plan objectives related to growth, environment, housing, transportation and economic development. The feedback also expresses concern over incremental urban sprawl and loss of green space in the region particularly in the Juan de Fuca electoral area and that the CRD take action to strengthen urban containment.

City Provides Funds to Support Rosalie’s Village Affordable Housing Project
The City has allocated $ 297,000 in funding towards the Rosalie Village project. The project provides 42 units of supportive affordable rental housing for young single mothers with children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and vulnerable older women who are referred from transition houses or subsidized family housing. The complex is located in Saanich and is being developed and operated by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. All levels of government contributed funding towards the housing complex in an effort to reduce homelessness in Victoria and the Region.