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.

Thank you Coastal Community Credit Union!

Facilitating Dialogue Around Affordability

We'd like to say a special thank you to Coastal Community Credit Union (CCCU) for their support of our events dedicated to enhancing affordability across the region. We are grateful to be able to host events through our collaborative regional household affordability and prosperity (RHAP) project, in partnership with local municipalities.

This project aims to share and cultivate best practices in housing affordability and recently published a toolkit on municipal levers for housing affordability, with support from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). To delve deeper into this project, please click here.

Additionally, we actively contribute to the affordability dialogue through our work on the living wage calculation. Discover more about our efforts and impact by exploring the details here.

Coastal Community Credit Union

As a key supporter, Coastal Community Credit Union, the largest Vancouver Island-based financial services organization, stands among the top ten percent of credit unions in Canada by asset size. Noteworthy among their innovations is the introduction of Interactive Teller Machines (ITM) to Vancouver Island.

A testament to CCCU's commitment to excellence, they recently celebrated their fifth consecutive year of being certified as a Great Place to Work, a recognition bestowed by their dedicated and valued employees. Visit their website to learn more.

Welcome Dr. Shelley Cook!

We are delighted to introduce the new Executive Director of the Community Social Planning Council – Dr. Shelley Cook!

Shelley brings over 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector and a deep commitment to social justice. With a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from UBC Okanagan and a strong background in housing policy, research, and community development, she is a fantastic fit for our mission.

Shelley’s passion for community-based research, her local connections, and her unwavering commitment to equity and inclusion will be instrumental in our continued efforts to create positive change in the region.

Diana Gibson will remain a driving force within our organization during this transition. Her steadfast dedication and invaluable guidance will be pivotal in facilitating a seamless shift in leadership as she embarks on her next inspiring endeavour as a community leader.

Join us in welcoming Shelley and expressing our gratitude to Diana for her remarkable contributions to the Council.

CEA Energy & Climate Action Award

We are thrilled and deeply honored to receive the Climate and Energy Action award from the Community Energy Association (CEA) for our groundbreaking E-Bike Incentive Pilot Program. This recognition would not have been possible without the unwavering support and collaboration of our outstanding partners and funders: the District of Saanich, The University of British Columbia, and the Vancouver Foundation.

A Collective Vision for a Greener and More Equitable Future 

At the core of our success lies a shared vision and a strong commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly transportation while ensuring equity and accessibility for all. We recognize that sustainable solutions must be inclusive and address the specific needs of all families, especially those in low-income. The support of our partners has been instrumental in driving this vision forward and turning it into a reality that benefits our community and beyond. We stand united in our dedication to reducing carbon emissions and promoting accessible, sustainable mobility solutions.

Paving the Way for a Provincial Program

One of the most gratifying outcomes of our pilot program is the influence it has had on policy at a provincial level, with a strong equity lens. This initiative, which focuses on providing rebates based on income qualifications, has acted as a model for a wider provincial program emphasizing equity, with the goal of empowering families and individuals.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Community Energy Association (CEA) for recognizing our dedication and honoring us and our partners with this award. The accolade is not just a testament to our efforts but also a celebration of the remarkable collaboration that has propelled our initiative to success. We remain steadfast in our commitment to a sustainable and equitable future and look forward to continued collaboration with our partners and funders in achieving greater milestones. Together, we will continue to make a positive impact and inspire change.

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Author(s):

CSPC Team

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The climate crisis effects everyone, but it does not impact everyone equally. That's where we come in. Click below to learn more about the E-bike program and our work in the Climate Equity space!

United Way Southern Vancouver Island Campaign Kick off Event

We strongly believe in the power of collaboration and collective action to create lasting positive change within our community. That's why we were thrilled to be part of the inspiring United Way Southern Vancouver Island Campaign Kickoff event. This event was a testament to the strength and unity of the community, coming together to support and uplift each other.

This event was a powerful reminder of the strength we possess when we stand united. At the CSPC, we are energized and inspired to continue our efforts in collaborating with United Way and other community partners to create a better tomorrow for all. Together, we can build a community where everyone thrives and no one is left behind. Stay tuned for updates on our collaborative endeavors, and let's work hand in hand towards a brighter, more inclusive future.

Executive Director Transition

It is with mixed emotions that we announce a planned change in our leadership team. After five years of dedicated service, Diana Gibson, our Executive Director, will be moving on to new opportunities for serving the community. Please join us in thanking her for her tremendous contribution.

This decision comes after extensive planning and consultation. Diana will remain actively involved to ensure a seamless handover of responsibilities, maintaining the high standards of work that you’ve come to expect from the CSPC. The board is already in the advanced stages of a comprehensive search for a qualified successor who will uphold and advance our mission. We will be accepting applications until mid-October and encourage you to share the job posting with qualified individuals. 

We are immensely grateful for Diana’s contributions, vision, and commitment to our mission. During her tenure the CSPC was renewed, with the staff team growing from 2 to 16. Under Diana’s leadership the CSPC launched new programs the Greater Victoria Rent Bank, ID Bank, Housing Policy and Climate Equity Programs- and strengthened the role of the Council in advising and supporting cities and non-profit partners. Together with Diana and our Director of Finance/Operations, Barry Hutchinson, we have built a devoted staff and board team that will enable us to navigate the transition smoothly.  

In closing, please join us in expressing our deepest gratitude to Diana for her exceptional leadership. She has set a high bar, and while she will be greatly missed, we are excited to see where she will make an impact next. Thank you for your continued support. We are looking forward to stepping into the next chapter of CSPC’s journey with all of you. 

Please view the job posting here

Preserving Paradise: A Hopeful Transformation of Public Transit

Imagine a breathtaking island community where golden sunsets, towering trees, and thriving coastal waters allure residents and tourists alike. However, beneath this paradise, a pressing challenge looms over its transportation system, impeding progress on accessibility and environmental sustainability while jeopardizing the cherished natural vistas.  

During a recent trip to Cowichan Lake, I witnessed glaring transportation issues on a mid-July weekend. Lanes were congested with solo commuters seeking refuge from the bustling South Island. Campsites at recreational facilities overflowed with four, five, and even six vehicles for a similar number of campers. Despite over 70 available sites, not one was occupied by a walk-in, cyclist, or transit user. Surprisingly, despite being a mere 100km away from the island's largest population center, Victoria, there's no public transportation option to access the campground.  

The Need for Change - The Malahat(e)  

This is a critical problem, as both our population and the desire to access natural spaces continue to grow. We must seize the opportunity to explore world-class natural spots on the island without solely relying on private vehicles. Not too long ago, the island made headlines for its dismal public transit network. The time for change has come – a transportation and cultural shift that can positively impact the island's future. Major arteries like the Malahat suffer from significant bottlenecks primarily due to personal vehicle travel. While some may consider roadway expansion the only feasible solution, we can create a well-researched alternative by establishing frequent and affordable bus services presenting measurable positive impacts on transit across the Malahat.  

Embracing an Inclusive Transit System  

Regardless of our preferences in transportation, we should all strive to create a province where access to mobility isn't a barrier but a gateway to opportunity. Our collective consciousness seems to equate personal vehicles with ultimate freedom – a belief that has marginalized seniors, students, people with disabilities, and others without access to private vehicles, limiting their mobility within their home province. A thriving BC is one where mobility is a right, not a privilege. By embracing an improved bus transit system, we can bridge gaps in mobility and create more inclusive communities. Transit equity means ensuring no one is left behind, allowing everyone to easily reach their workplaces, schools, leisure spots, and essential services.  

Ecological Preservation and Climate Change Mitigation  

The reason so many call this place home and others yearn to do the same lies in its natural beauty. We share a collective responsibility to preserve it for future generations. From towering trees to expansive valleys and rugged coastlines, the island offers something for everyone. Transitioning to a reliable and sustainable transit network provides an opportunity not only to reduce our carbon footprint but also to embrace clean energy technologies and protect our environment. By prioritizing private vehicle access over the larger public good, we have contributed to environmental damage. One of the goals of the Clean BC Roadmap to 2030 is to reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads by 25 percent across the province. We can achieve this by creatively implementing alternative solutions to the current status quo.  

Improving Transit in Tourist Destinations  

Tofino, a jewel of the island, attracts tourists from far and wide, with some travelling from the other side of the planet to bask in its sunsets at the end of the road. However, due to a lack of access, roads in high season are often congested, parking lots packed, and the tranquil beauty of the Pacific Rim can feel more like an amusement park than a protected natural area. Offering a convenient, eco-friendly alternative can reduce congestion, preserve picturesque landscapes, and promote sustainable tourism. During July and August, Tofino hosts an average of 6,600 visitors each day - how many arrive by private vehicle with not much more than a suitcase and a backpack for a long weekend of fun? Let's explore publicly funded park bus services with sufficient storage capacity for surfboards, tents, and other items typically associated with personal vehicles.  

Addressing Transit Gaps in Rural Areas  

Tucked away in the rainforest near the mouth of the Juan de Fuca and Port San Juan lies Port Renfrew. Despite a lack of transit options, this community receives countless surfers, hikers, and photographers every year. Despite its relative proximity to Greater Victoria and the Cowichan Valley, residents must rely on private vehicles to access services located outside of town. Furthermore, those who wish to access the area have no alternatives to the growing congestion on the route beyond an expensive private trail bus. The presence of a private service where there should be a public good indicates a need for improved transportation through the corridor. Transit accessibility should not be driven by the path of least resistance or profit but by empowering anyone with mobility. Connecting rural areas is about public safety, equity, and accessibility, especially for vulnerable populations such as indigenous women and those within the 2SLGBTQ community.  

The Dedicated Right of Way to a Better Future  

We stand on the cusp of a transportation revolution that will define the island's future. Sacrificing irreplaceable ecological areas for the convenience of personal vehicle access should not even be a debate - especially when viable alternatives are both more effective and cost-efficient for both taxpayers and the health of our home. In fact- for every dollar invested in public transportation, communities generate four dollars in economic activity. Let's prioritize accessibility, sustainability, and inclusivity while building a future where everyone can thrive. If our vision for a successful transportation network is solely motivated by profit, we will never achieve transit equity. The ability to connect cities, regions, and communities regardless of distance will most likely never be profitable. Public transportation should not exist through a profit lens; instead, we should view our ROI as the enhancement of community connection, improved access to amenities and natural spaces, enhanced tourism, reduced emissions, and a paradigm shift in how we perceive transportation in our region and province. 

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

Published: July 26, 2023

Author(s):

Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Research Coordinator

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Whether it be climate equity, community innovation, housing affordability, or economic justice, be a part of the conversation when you sign up for our monthly newsletter!

Navigating the Future: Creating a More Inclusive and Sustainable Ferry Network

Connecting Coastal Communities: The Need for Change 

Imagine an early summer morning on Malcolm Island, where the sun bathes the landscape in a warm glow, accompanied by a gentle breeze from the Queen Charlotte Strait. The awe-inspiring peaks of the Broughton Archipelago stretch across the horizon. While this picturesque community feels like a slice of heaven on Earth, its existence today relies heavily on the BC Ferries system. However, recent challenges and frustrations have reignited discussions about the potential benefits of bringing BC Ferries back under complete provincial control.   

Prioritizing Accessibility Over Profits 

BC Ferries plays a crucial role in connecting communities across coastal BC. Yet, the current profit-driven model often neglects the needs of the residents. By establishing a provincially owned and operated network, we can prioritize accessibility for all residents over profits, returning the ferry system to its roots as a true extension of the BC Highway system. Our provincial government, with considerations for the broader public interest, could ensure that ferry services are affordable, dependable, and accessible to the communities that rely on them as a lifeline. This means expanding and maintaining reliable service levels to the Gulf Islands and even more remote communities like Sointula and Alert Bay. Allowing us to promote transportation equity while supporting economic development and the livelihoods of those that live in regions with limited transportation options.   

Improving Service Reliability Through Strategic Investments 

To improve service reliability, we must prioritize investments in infrastructure, vessel maintenance, and staff recruitment. Many BC Ferries workers are employed on short-term contracts, many of which are characterized by infrequent hours and relatively low entry pay for the level of work and certification requested. Creating an environment where employees are able to access adequate resources, consistent schedules, and competitive salaries will be paramount. Ensuring a positive work environment will allow us to enhance service reliability and contribute to a more positive travel experience for passengers while strengthening our overall transportation network. Providing better job security and opportunities for career advancement will not only attract skilled workers but also motivate them to perform at their best, ultimately contributing to a more positive travel experience for passengers and strengthening the overall transportation network.  

Long-Term Stability and Adaptation Through Provincial Control 

A BC Ferries under provincial control could allow for long-term strategic planning and stability, enabling the province to adapt more readily to a shifting region. Government oversight could facilitate strategic decision-making that factors in the needs of communities, the environment, and long-term sustainability. With a coordinated approach, we could achieve efficient route management, optimized schedules, and improved integration with other modes of transportation at points of origin and destinations. A more holistic and interconnected transportation network begins with a coordinated ferry system that operates with increased oversight and accountability. By considering the broader public interest, a provincially controlled BC Ferries system can foster a more holistic and interconnected transportation network, benefiting both residents and visitors alike.  

Equity and Mobility: A Core Concern 

Equitable mobility should be the core concern for any transportation network, especially one that over 800,000 British Columbians rely on to access the mainland of their province. As the island and its neighbouring archipelagos continue to grow in population, it is crucial to strengthen a transportation network that is independent of market forces. BC Ferries, as a government-run entity, could make decisions based on the needs of the public and the communities served, reducing uncertainty for those who live in communities dependent on ferry schedules. It would also make many areas on and around the island more accessible to live, work, and play.   

Embracing Sustainability for a Greener Future 

As we recognize the urgency of addressing climate change, our ferry system presents an opportunity to prioritize sustainability throughout our fleet. By investing in greener technologies such as hybrid or electric vessels and implementing environmentally friendly practices like more coordinated scheduling and optimized routes, BC Ferries can contribute to a more sustainable future. Coordinated planning with other modes of transportation, such as buses, trains, and cycling infrastructure, can further encourage multimodal travel options and reduce reliance on personal vehicles- further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By adopting these sustainable practices and integrating them into the ferry system, BC Ferries can not only mitigate its environmental impact but also serve as a model for other transportation networks striving for a greener and more sustainable future.  

Looking Ahead: Thoughts From the Sundeck 

Our ferry system's challenges can be addressed by reimagining it under public control. A provincially owned and operated ferry system, prioritizing accessibility and sustainability, can better serve the needs of coastal communities, travellers, and this beautiful place we call home. We continuously invest in our transportation networks, like our motorways, because we recognize their essential role in mobility. Running ferries through a profit-focused lens will never yield the level of service, reliability, and equity that is required of an essential service.    

As we navigate the future of the transportation network, we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea of re-absorbing the ferry system under public control. It is a valuable endeavour that could lead to a more efficient, inclusive, and environmentally conscious ferry network where communities that depend on it have access to the essential service that BC Ferries should be. Reimagining BC Ferries under public control isn't just a visionary endeavour; it's a pivotal step toward forging an efficient, inclusive, and environmentally conscious ferry network that connects communities, empowers lives, and ensures that the breathtaking beauty of a Sointula sunset remains accessible to all. 

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

Published: July 6, 2023

Author(s):

Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Research Coordinator

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Whether it be climate equity, community innovation, housing affordability, or economic justice, be a part of the conversation when you sign up for our monthly newsletter!

New Housing Toolkit Promotes Innovative Housing Practices for Local Governments

As Canada grapples with a nationwide housing crisis, the focus on affordability has reached a critical juncture. While federal and provincial governments often take the spotlight in addressing the challenge, it is crucial to recognize the pivotal role that local governments play in the creation of more affordable housing stock. Local governments possess an array of tools that can influence housing costs, including zoning regulations, development charges, density bonuses, and property taxes. 

In an effort to empower municipalities across Canada, Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria (CSPC) is launching the “Local Government Levers for Housing Affordability” toolkit with funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). 

The toolkit provides a comprehensive overview of various tools and their municipal context, enabling local governments to make informed decisions. The toolkit highlights key tools and examples of policies and practices which are intended to make a difference in housing affordability, while addressing common challenges and proposing practical solutions. The toolkit also showcases illustrative scenarios that highlight successes in implementing these tools across diverse municipal contexts and addressing varying degrees of housing needs and affordability from coast to coast.  

Municipalities are at the forefront of the affordability challenges facing Canadian cities, and it is essential that they maximize all available avenues to improve housing availability and affordability. Unaffordability throughout our communities can drive individuals to seek more affordable living conditions elsewhere, resulting in labour shortages and stunted economic growth at a national level. Affordable housing is not just a social imperative but an economic necessity that supports business and individual prosperity, reinforcing local economies. We hope that by using this toolkit, local governments will be able to change their communities for the better, to become more affordable, prosperous, and inclusive.  

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.

We encourage Local Governments to look into the CMHC's Housing Accelerator Fund which aims to fund initiatives to increase housing supply.

Published June 27, 2023 

Author(s):

Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Research Coordinator

Aza Bryson-Bucci, Research Coordinator

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Aza (500 × 500 px)

Whether it be climate equity, community innovation, housing affordability, or economic justice, be a part of the conversation when you sign up for our monthly newsletter!