Saturday, November 5, 2011

What I believe

It's time for positive change in Central Saanich.

It's time to bring everyone to the table.

I am committed to maintaining the rural health and beauty of Central Saanich. We live in the centre of an exquisite jewel. This is the place I love.  I have worked hard and passionately to protect her over the years, speaking out at public hearings, writing articles and advocating for a small, sustainable and self-sufficient community. But there’s much more that needs to be done.

It’s time to understand the interconnectedness of farms, small businesses, community groups, cultures and families.

If we aren’t working together we are missing the opportunity to build a vibrant, healthy community. With 16,000 citizens, Central Saanich is full of good ideas and helping hands. Regular round tables and community discussions can make the most of this vitally important resource. We need to include our youth in everything we do. Youth are our future, they should be there when we next review the Official Community Plan and they should be sitting as observers on some of our committees so they can learn how a community works. We need to support our seniors by helping maintain the seniors centre in Brentwood Bay. This should become a regular part of our budget, they should not have to come asking for help through the grants in aid process. This is a well used centre providing all sorts of activities. Keeping it going is good for the whole community.

I am proud of the help I have been able to offer to those who would set up a recycle depot, fight to save farmland, protect our ferry route, hold a dry grad, get a new crosswalk and create a more liveable, less stressful space for our community.

We are not just another cookie-cutter suburb of a larger city. We are LÁU,WELNEW, the place of refuge, as our First Nations neighbours know, and we need to maintain that vision. We need to respect the land we are using and give back to its future wherever we can. We are here to help each other!
Central Saanich needs to refocus on families, farms and fairness.

Our families need safe, affordable, green and appropriate housing so that our community does not become a monoculture of one age group or one income level. We need to help people "live where they work and work where they live" to reduce transportation costs and the pollution that goes with long commutes. We need to find incentives and funding for alternative energy use and to encourage urban gardening and tree planting to mitigate the effects of climate change.

We need to lobby our provincial government for more help for farmers including perhaps a land bank to buy farms and lease them back at low rates to other farmers. We need to nurture small businesses and help them with our patronage, our support and our creativity. We can streamline the civic paperwork so they can get down to business faster. We can help Keating by encouraging value-added agricultural businesses to start up there (bakeries, flour producers, packing, canning, weavers and more).
We need a true commitment to our Official Community Plan and the Regional Sustainability Strategy so that our community can concentrate on growing food for our families far into the future. We need to respect and understand our agreements with other communities because we are not a law unto ourselves; what we do or fail to do impacts others.

We need fairness and accountability - all votes must be recorded. Meetings must be video-taped and posted on the website. Secrecy is the enemy of openness. If you've nothing to hide you should proudly state yea or nay for the camera.

We need much more public interaction, more notification of public hearings, open houses, town halls, and council & committee meetings using all the new tools available to us. And we need to foster civic values. We can do this by being inclusive.
Central Saanich needs a clearer more readable budget and accounting system so citizens can easily access the information they need.

We need true respect for those who come before council, they are the employer and they are the people footing the bill. We need those who will spend carefully for what is needed, but hold the line on frills. Tax increases as a result of the new "run up the debt" philosophy of some current council members will hamper local families for years to come and future councils will be blamed for the mis-spending taking place now.

Development does not add to revenue sufficiently to cover the expenses it creates, as our municipal planner has clearly stated in more than one public meeting.

Development increases taxes over time as demands are made for more amenities, as growth triggers the legal requirements for more police and fire services, and as maintenance and repairs become necessary.
So who am I?

I am a BC government employee working for BC Housing. In my youth I picked berries on Veyaness, attended Mt Newton School, helped build the trail in Centennial Park and worked for Charlie White Productions on Keating X Road, marketing his Salmon Spectacular film. I have lived on Tanner Road, East Saanich Road and Wallace Drive.
I have learned a lot about the difficulties people face in our society and I have learned to respect them no matter who they are.

We are all one, we all belong.

Our respect for each other is what creates "community."

-Sue Stroud


 On November 19th remember,

Sue Stroud will make you proud!

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