The Wharf Street bike lane from the Johnson Street Bridge to Fort Street will open tomorrow, August 1. The remainder of the Wharf Street bike lane, from Fort to Government streets, will open Aug. 8, followed by Government to Douglas streets on Aug. 15.
The lane will be the first protected bike lane running north-south as part of the City of Victoria's All Ages and Abilities bicycling network and will serve as a connector between the already constructed Pandora and Fort Street bike lanes. It will also provide a protected entryway into downtown Victoria for cyclists coming across the Johnson Street Bridge.
The City encourages everyone to watch for and obey new traffic signals, to use caution when navigating the corridor, and to respect others by always following the rules of the road.
City of Victoria: member since 1962
Another week, another questionable decision from a divided Victoria council. Last Thursday, a cohort of Victoria councillors decided to ignore their staff's own expert advice and proclaim how the real estate market will create new affordable housing.
Certain Victoria councillors appear more interested in drawing attention to themselves than solving very real problems facing our community. We desperately need workforce housing - not grandstanding. Championing idealism will appeal to a segment of voters but it's a disservice to people in need.
After commissioning a study on the best way to add to the city's stock of affordable housing, council heard that new projects become unfeasible if builders are required to make more than 10% of the units affordable.
Despite the recommendation, council voted on June 13 to increase the requirement to 20%. Last week, a vocal minority of council urged their colleagues to reduce the requirement to 10% before voting to finalize their decision.
"It's great to dream but it's another thing to be able to achieve," said Coun. Charlayne Thornton Joe, explaining to her colleagues that they need to understand the tools at their disposal.
"We already know anything above 10% is not financially viable," said Mayor Lisa Helps, referring to the development community as home builders who need to be seen as partners in creating affordable housing in the city.
"I am going to support moving back to 10% because it creates the art of the possible as opposed to what we actually just dream of," said Coun. Marianne Alto, noting that, historically, attempting to regulate developers has been less effective than engaging them in conversation. "I don't want to rely on hope, I want to get things built."
However, their voices weren't enough to change the minds of the cohort who chose to make a statement by adhering to the 20% stipulation.
They may see it as a bold move but, if it forces construction out of Victoria to jurisdictions with more realistic requirements, the city will have made the affordable housing situation worse. As has been noted, 20% of nothing is nothing.
Chamber members have spoken. You want your Chamber to speak out on issues vital to ensuring we have a strong economy and great community.
The Chamber conducted a survey this spring to help us stay in tune with our 1,400 members. As the largest business organization on Vancouver Island, we know our voice is stronger when we have the evidence to back us up.
And apparently we're doing a good job. When asked, 96% of our members indicated that they were likely or extremely likely to recommend The Chamber to a friend or colleague. That shows a 5% growth over last year.
Here's a look at what you told us:
We live in a metropolitan region of 400,000 people with a single downtown that has all of the issues affecting cities of the same size across North America. Having separate police departments for the urban core and suburbs makes little sense, and it's time to revisit a regional force.
Last week, the Victoria Police Department announced it was making cuts to services to try and meet the budget imposed on it by Victoria city council. Eliminating a unit that kept tabs on people who have a history of chronically committing crimes will free up officers to respond to 911 calls.
Victoria Police Chief Del Manak is to be commended for his efforts to manage the resources he has available, but he's been tasked with making choices he should not have to make.
Victoria and Saanich are taking initial steps towards amalgamation by pursuing a Citizens Assembly to look at the pros and cons of merging municipalities. The Chamber supports the process, and we think one of the benefits will be a unified police force with the resources needed to serve all of our citizens.
Listen to Chamber CEO Catherine Holt on CFAX speaking about why we need a regional police force.
You can also check out Catherine's op-ed on how the province can help fix police boards to better serve communities.