Uytae Lee Takes on Victoria!

We were delighted to convene our Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Victoria Event Centre on January 23, 2024, where we had the privilege of engaging in a discussion with Uytae Lee about various aspects of urban living.

We began the evening with an entertaining round of Victoria trivia. Following this, we delved into Uytae's presentation, during which he tackled the challenges of urbanism in the face of increasing polarization. Uytae underscored the significance of efficient and effective communication in navigating these challenges.

He passionately encouraged others to remain steadfast in their commitment to enhancing our cities, making them inclusive and vibrant spaces for all residents to live and thrive.

Check out some pictures from the event below!

Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

As the living wage rises once again to $25.40 per hour, families and individuals are grappling with the challenges of affording the escalating cost of living, surging food prices, and more. Our Family Day Factsheet 2023 showed that 21% of lone parent families are currently living in poverty.

There has never been a more crucial time for us to unite and extend support to one another, especially during the holiday season.

Donations made to the CSPC help support vital programs such as the Greater Victoria Rent Bank and Coordinated ID Services. You increase our capacity to engage in social policy research, analysis and advocacy for underserved and under represented populations.

If you'd like to support other meaningful initiatives in the community, please view the list below.

The Soup Kitchen

This location on View Street has been around for over 40 years and serve out over 30,000 meals each year.

They accept both donations as well as your volunteered time, if you’ve got some to spare!

  • Where: 740 View Street
  • When: Volunteers usually work one morning a week, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10:30 am. Monday to Friday

Rainbow Kitchen

In 2010, the Victoria Rainbow Kitchen Society was established as a registered Society & Charitable Organization and has since become a true hub for food security programming in the Capital Regional District!

They work hard to help those in need, including serving over 120,000 meals every year and over 10,000 pounds of food rescued from being pre-maturely thrown out each month.

They have multiple programs you can check out and they’re always accepting donations for items such as toiletries, canned goods, cooking oils, and so much more.

  • Where: 500 Admirals Road
  • When: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Shelbourne Community Kitchen

This warm and welcoming location is happily providing food to over 2000 low-income individuals in the area with access to fresh food, resources, and support.

Monetary donations is the quickest and best way to ensure the team have everything they need in order to continue supporting those who need it most.

But they also recommend hosting your own food drive, organizing a fundraiser or volunteering your time if you’re looking for ways to get back.

  • Where: 101-3787 Cedar Hill Road (entrance off of Cedar Hill Cross Road)
  • When: Hours vary
(Shelbourne Community Kitchen Society / Facebook)

Leave a toy or two at several different drives happening

Everyone knows that Christmas is expensive, and for some, impossibly so. The expectations to make a child’s Christmas is even greater, and some parents or guardians don’t want the added financial weight.

In order to make life easier on families in need, toy drives pop up all over the city and it couldn’t be easier to get involved.

Just make sure the toys you bring in are new and unwrapped.

Here’s 4 toy drives to participate in this holiday season:

Virgin Radio’s Toy Mountain

This year marks Virgin’s fifth Toy Mountain which seeks to amass as many gifts for all ages as humanly possible within the confines of the former Good Earth Uptown location.

They will be there until Friday, December 1st and are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and welcomes donors into the space to add their gifts to the already building mountain of toys.

Toy Mountain is especially in need of gifts for the 13 to 17-year-old range, as this is an age group they’re always short on. Even gift cards are great because it gives the receiver the power to shop for their own wants.

If you weren’t yet convinced to drop something off, on Friday, December 1st, anyone who drops off a gift, cash or a gift card, will receive a drink and a treat from Starbucks and Crust who will be set up in the roundabout in front of Best Buy.

  • Where: The old Good Earth location at Uptown just a couple of doors down from Best Buy
  • When: Open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. until December 1st (last day includes the Starbucks and Crust bonus)

The Zone @ 91-3

Similar to Virgin’s Toy Mountain, The Zone will be setting up shop at the Mayfair Shopping Centre parking lot on December 8th from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. for a drive-thru-style toy drop-off.

Bring over what you can to support Victorians in need and make a huge difference for families on Christmas!

Leading up to their toy drive-thru event, they’re encouraging everyone to drop off toys to the following Peninsula Co-op locations up until December 6th:

  • 4397 West Shore Parkway (Langford)
  • 321 Wale Road (Colwood)
  • 6429 Pat Bay Highway (Saanich)
  • 10350 McDonald Park Road (Sidney)
  • 6739 West Saanich Road (Brentwood)
  • 2320 Millstream Rd (Millstream)

LIDA Construction with Mustard Seed

In partnership with Mustard Seed Street Church & Food Bank, LIDA Construction is collecting toys for children aged 6 to 16 up until December 12th at 4 p.m.!

Bring toys such as Barbie Dolls, Trains’ n’ Trucks, Nerf, Transformers, Star Wars, LEGO, Action figure, Shopkins, Hatchables, Cool Socks, Gloves and Scarves, and Board Games.

If you wish to contribute gift cards or movie vouchers, those will also be accepted!

  • Where: LIDA Homes office, 6105 Patricia Bay Highway
  • When: During office hours until December 12th at 4 p.m.

Santas Anonymous and the Natural Hair Salon

The Natural Hair Salon has partnered with Santas Anonymous for this holiday season and they’re hoping to get as many people involved as possible!

If you’re planning on visiting the salon anytime between now and December 22nd, bring a toy for kids in need.

Some gift ideas include Play-Doh, magnets, pencils, crayons, and coloring books!

  • Where: Two locations, one at 616 View Street, the other at 313 Cook Street #3
  • When: Anytime during salon hours until December 22nd
Virgin Radio Victoria’s Toy Mountain (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)

Supporting local businesses and creators

One of the best things about Victoria is the amount of incredible local businesses and creators that are available to us for all of our possible needs.

Anything you purchase is going directly to your community by supporting the artisans that keep the city of Victoria vibrant and creative.

The list you will find in the link below has been split up into three sections: local stores, local authors, and local restaurants for you to check out!

Anything from gift card-musts to specific items are included, and at the very least, you’ll find somewhere to start looking!

Full article: Here’s a list of unique and local gifts you can get your loved ones in and around Victoria


Drop off nonperishable goods at food drives

Plenty of the soup kitchens in Victoria also accept nonperishable or other accepted items, but we wanted to quickly highlight a few more.

There’s a specific food drive for the holiday season happening during The Q!’s morning show at Mayfair, as well as a couple others that allow you to drop off anytime.

Here’s 4 places you can donate food and other accepted products to:

100.3 The Q!

The Q will be setting up shop in the Mayfair Shopping Centre parking lot on Friday, December 1st collecting food donations, cash and cheques for the several food banks throughout Greater Victoria.

They will be broadcasting their morning show from that location!

Stop and say hello and bring what you can.

  • Where: Mayfair Shopping Centre’s Parking Lot, 3147 Douglas Street
  • When: Friday, December 1st from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Mustard Seed Street Church

Mustard Seed is situated in Victoria’s downtown core and has become a well-known resource for those in need.

Their food bank provides 600,000 pounds of food, beverages and hygiene products to families and individuals—this is equivalent to an estimated 480,000 meals or over 1,300 meals per day.

Bring any nonperishable food items or other accepted items that you can spare to support your community this winter.

They will also be at the IEOA Truck Parade on Saturday, December 2nd accepting donations!

  • Where: 625 Queens Avenue
  • When: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.—some exceptions apply, just make sure to check ahead of your visit

Victoria Community Fridge

The Victoria Community Fridge operates on a “take what you need, leave what you can” basis and is entirely supported by the community.

The is open 24/7 and is accessible from the sidewalk.

They accept items such as fresh fruit and vegetables, unopened or bulk dry goods (pasta, rice, legumes, baking supplies), sealed hygiene items (diapers, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, tampons, pads, soaps), sealed pet food, snacks (granola bars, crackers, etc.).

They don’t accept open or used items, raw meat or seafood, opened or half eaten food (unless individually packaged), alcohol, mouldy or seriously damaged bread or produce, frozen food, or leftovers or premade meals (unless given exclusive permission to do so).

  • Where: 2725 Rock Bay Avenue, the fridge is located at the corner of David street facing the Centennial United Church
  • When: It’s open 24/7

Sandy Merriman House

Sandy Merriman provides emergency shelter for 25 women who are homeless. They also welcome people who are transgender and non-binary.

Donations to this house are always greatly appreciated and go directly towards vulnerable people looking for hygiene products, nutritious meals, and clothing.

If you would like to donate, you can drop off your items on Sundays and Wednesdays. They will go back to accepting donations daily in the New Year.

They accept financial donations 24/7 and that can be done through Cool Aid’s website, here.

  • Where: 809 Burdett Avenue
  • When: Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
(Community Fridge Victoria / Facebook)

Help Stuff the Bus in Victoria

BC Transit is hosting a donation drive on Saturday December 2nd, at the Save-On-Foods in Tillicum Mall from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers will collect non-perishable food items, new toys, and clothing, benefiting the Mustard Seed Food Bank and the Salvation Army.

This year, due to operational challenges, BC Transit is unable to partake in some traditional holiday events like the Santa Bus, which would impact bus services. However, they aim to resume these festivities in 2024, understanding their significance in bringing joy to customers and employees.

  • Where: At the Save-On-Foods in Tillicum Mall
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This list was provided by Victoria Buzz, view the original article here.

Building Housing Affordability: Levers for Canadian Municipalities

*This event is for municipal councillors and planners. Please register with your municipal email (ie. planner@city.ca). Personal email addresses may be removed from our registration list to ensure privacy.*

Municipalities are at the forefront of the affordability challenges facing Canadian cities. Join us for a solutions-focused conversation with guest presenters and speakers from across the country.

The Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria is pleased to convene a dialogue with municipal leaders from across Canada on their new toolkit, Local Government Levers for Housing Affordability, which received funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Read the Toolkit

The launch of this toolkit marks a significant step towards a more optimistic future for housing availability and affordability in Canada. By recognizing the vital role of municipalities and providing them with the necessary tools and knowledge, we can collectively address our housing crisis.

This event will feature solutions and insights from municipal councillors and planners who are at the forefront of housing affordability innovation across the country, and will be moderated by the CSPC's Executive Director Diana Gibson. There will be time for an audience Q&A, as well as additional time from 1:00-1:30pm for continued dialogue after the facilitated programming has ended.

Thriving Victoria: Living Wage & Affordability Summit

Join us on November 8th from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM for the official launch of the Living Wage across BC. This gathering is a convergence of impassioned stakeholders committed to advocating for a fair living wage. We invite employers and employees dedicated to this cause, policymakers including MLAs, MPPs, councillors, and their teams, as well as representatives from unions, businesses, and community organizations. The event will feature a panel response and living wage presentation.

Let's come together to delve into critical conversations, drive change, and collectively work towards fostering a society where a fair living wage is not just a vision but a reality. Your presence and insights are vital as we unite for a brighter, equitable future. Food and refreshments will be available. Mark your calendars for this significant event!

This event is part of the CSPC's Happiness and Wellbeing Lab in partnership with the United Way.

Centering The Person in Personal Identification And Health: A Scoping Review

The use of personal identification (PID) to access many of life’s essential services is easy for many to take for granted. However, not having PID can significantly impact and individual's health and well-being, excluding them from the most basic needs from health and shelter to income. The Community Council conducted a scoping review of academic and gray literature to explore existing research on how PID impacts health. Three main themes are clear in the research: the clear relationship between PID and personal health; the relationship between PID and the social determinants of health; and the disproportionate barriers faced by vulnerable populations.

Trauma Informed and Resilience Oriented Research Resource

This Trauma-Informed Resilience Oriented Research Resource (TIROR) including guidelines and principles are meant to inform how to undertake research with community co-researchers who have lived expertise with trauma and vulnerability, in a manner that supports their participation, health and wellness, and minimizes the risk of re-traumatization through participation in the research itself.

Moss Street Farmers Market – Common Ground Community Mapping Inclusion Project

Join us this Saturday, September 2, at the Moss Street Farmers Market as we showcase our Common Ground Community Mapping Inclusion Project in partnership with Community Living BC.

Share your experiences on a large map of the CRD with sticky notes. Spin the wheel for fun prizes, take surveys on community inclusion, and record video responses at our ring-light station. Let's build an inclusive CRD together! See you there!

This project is in partnership with

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Bridging the Gap: Promoting Equity Through E-Mobility and Active Transportation

In recent years, a quiet revolution has been taking place on the streets of cities worldwide. E-Bikes have been rapidly gaining popularity as a clean, efficient, and practical mode of transportation. As the province of British Columbia seeks sustainable solutions to address its transportation, climate, and equity challenges, its investment in e-mobility is finally coming online.  With a relatively mild climate, there isn't a better place in Canada to start moving people out of their cars and onto bikes. 

The province is following the Community Council’s E-bike Equity Model that was developed and piloted with the District of Saanich. This model includes a higher subsidy for lower income households. The pilot was part of the Community Council’s Climate Equity Program. The pilot has been hugely successful with the low-income targeted subsidy oversubscribed even before the higher income brackets. There was also unanimous approval to renew funding by the City Council where other jurisdictions have cancelled e-bike programs that were seen as inequitable. Transportation is the second highest cost driver for low-income households after housing meaning that and E-bike can be a game changer, not just for the climate and health but for poverty and low income. 

Shifting how people move through cities by enabling micro-mobility has yielded positive environmental and health results. We can significantly reduce carbon emissions, air pollution, and noise pollution within our cities by adopting alternative modes of transportation like E-bikes and incorporating them into our transportation continuum.  

As we see ourselves staring at a worsening healthcare crisis, promoting active transportation will be vital for improving public health. Although traditional bikes are a fantastic way of commuting actively, eBikes offer a unique solution as they enable individuals of varying fitness levels and abilities to enjoy cycling effortlessly. Encouraging cycling helps to promote physical activity, reduce sedentary lifestyles, and combat the growing concerns of obesity and other health issues associated with inactive lifestyles. Allowing both the province and the public to witness the significant health benefits that come with the adoption of eBikes as a fun and convenient means of transportation while fostering a strong cycling culture amongst younger riders and new immigrants.  

E-bikes also open up more commute and trip options for longer distances or carrying loads. Preliminary studies have found that individuals use e-bikes for longer trips than conventional bicycles, with an average distance per trip of 6.1km. That distance is longer than the average bike trip distance and car trip length within the largest municipality in the CRD   

For those battling the Colwood crawl and bumper-to-bumper traffic along Douglas, it isn't surprising that British Columbia's urban centers face significant traffic congestion. This congestion has led to frustrating commutes and wasted hours on the road for all users. An investment into active transportation by the province sets the stage for encouraging more people to leave their cars behind, reducing the overall number of vehicles on the roads. This reduction in traffic congestion has the potential to improve traffic flow, and reduce both noise and physical pollution within our cities- both of which will be necessary if we are looking to equitably densify our arterials and bolster sustainable developments centred around transitways.  

The E-bike Equity Model the province is following can relieve many financial burdens associated with car ownership, serving as a cost-effective alternative to the current status quo. Car ownership is often accompanied by substantial expenses, including fuel costs, maintenance, insurance, and parking fees. eBikes offer a cost-effective alternative- significantly reducing transportation expenses for individuals and families who don't necessarily want or need a car. As we look to improve affordability while enhancing the quality of life for British Columbians, getting more people moving more sustainably is an achievable goal. It is possible to dovetail social and climate equity. With no need for gasoline and significantly lower maintenance costs compared to automobiles, eBikes can help save money and increase disposable income. Furthermore, public investment in eBike infrastructure, such as more secure bike parking, better wayfinding, and trail widening projects, also benefits traditional acoustic riders.  

The E-bike explosion not only benefits their acoustic cousins but also has the potential to take their other e-mobility devices along for the ride too. With the emergence of electrified scooters, skateboards, and even unicycles, we must provide adequate infrastructure for all forms of e-mobility. This includes an often-overlooked form- the mobility scooter. Mobility scooters and other forms of micro-mobility for people with disabilities should need accommodation by right of way on multi-use and AAA paths. We can rethink the car as a default mobility device for many people by bringing them in for the active transportation revolution.   

If the province wants to add a more detailed equity lens to their rebates focused on e-mobility, it would be essential to address the gap for those who cannot ride traditional e-bikes. Pairing vital incentive programs alongside expanding active transportation infrastructure can lead to healthier, happier, and better-connected communities. We must plan for a future with fewer vehicles, less traffic, and more public and active transportation users. Unfortunately, the provincial VKT targets have been forgotten by many municipalities. The province's interest in meeting climate goals through VKT reductions opens the door to imagining a cleaner, more sustainable future for our transportation networks- but attracting and maintaining the ridership will require a coordinated approach from multiple levels of government.

The province's investment in eBikes presents many potential benefits, such as reducing environmental impacts through transportation, improving public health, alleviating traffic congestion, and boosting economic opportunities. E-bikes offer a compelling solution supporting us towards a cleaner, healthier, and more vibrant future. Let's help preserve the beauty of this place by embracing the electric revolution. We can pave the way for a greener British Columbia- albeit using less asphalt than we've used in the past.

This is the second blog in a series on transportation equity in the region.

Published May 31, 2023

Author(s):

Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Research Coordinator

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Saanich E-Bike Pilot Incentive Program Results

The Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) of Greater Victoria has been actively engaging with regional and international partners on just transitions. Within this initiative the CSPC has launched the Transportation Access, Climate and Economic Security (ACES) project to design a regionally focused climate equity framework for transportation decision-making. The CSPC is using this framework to maximize co-benefits in program planning decisions that lead to best climate, accessibility, and affordability outcomes.

CSPC has collaborated with the District of Saanich and UBC REACT Lab to help design and implement the Saanich E-Bike Incentive Pilot Program. This program works to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regionally by empowering low-income community members and equity-seeking groups to shift to e-bikes for transportation. It is the first municipal e-bike incentive program in BC to embed an equity lens with stepped income-qualified rebates. Read the full report below!