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Question 1 - What are your positions on development?
... I support neither over-development nor under-development. I support future-forward development that ensures North Saanich will be one of the most liveable and innovative rural communities in Canada for the long-term

  • Addressing the polarization by considering long-term future outcomes. One extreme in the polarized debate aims to stop development of any kind for fear of triggering over-development as conventional patterns of mass-development ARE powerfully incented by systemic profit drivers, but this policy will also halt rejuvenation and modernization which is badly needed if we are to become a healthy and resilient community. The other extreme aims to use blunt-instruments by moving the urban containment boundary to fast-track development and "solve the housing crisis" as soon as possible which will probably attract those very same mass-housing developers with the deepest pockets. Consider that rental REITs are currently the hottest investment segment BECAUSE OF RENT INFLATION so this is counter-productive. AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS NOT SO EASILY SOLVED (Affordable Housing Quick Summary in the Policies and Ideas Tab) and may pre-empt agricultural and climate-forward land-uses before we have a chance to articulate them. The middle-ground can be found in gradual smaller-scale innovative flex-housing solutions that keeps the needed value in our local community while improving social conditions. (see Policies and Ideas "Why Flex Housing?".)

  • Affordability and Fairness. In hindsight, development patterns that currently dominate, have contributed to unaffordability and ARE CALLOUS IN HOW THEY CREATE WINNERS AND LOSERS, like David and Goliath. The opposite of NIMBY-ism is not caring at all about those negatively affected which was have also seen in our community and in many others. Many residents in McTavish say they are already in THEIR AFFORDABLE HOUSING and fear that un-bridled development will make their neighbourhoods less liveable or encourage so much development around them that they will be pressured to leave their homes as property taxes rise with no benefits. These patterns were established during the post-war boom but today's context is vastly different and requires system change (see Projects and Ideas - Flex-forms of housing). "Flex-forms of housing" are the sensible solution that include sensitive infill and new housing forms. (see Flex-housing strategy under tab projects and ideas). We can and must do better by our residents when some of the solutions are CLEARLY EASY FIXES.

  • We should be building for the next generation(s). There is a more modern ethos that is emerging. Younger generations hold different values; sustainability, health, relationship to nature. Those values trump profits. In fact, my teenager is anti-materialist. We have a lot to learn from them and should be asking THEM what THEY want and need. We are working to found Cinovation - Citizens for Innovation and Adaptation which will open-source business cases to fill the localization gap while bringing value to our neighbourhoods (see Cinovation in Projects and Ideas tab)

Question 2 - What do you think about the OCP process so far?
... The OCP will be a comprehensive document that guides development for 7 years, but more importantly, THIS OCP will SET THE DIRECTION FOR DEVELOPMENT FOR 30 YEARS. This is because we are at a turning point in history marked by multiple systemic crises putting pressure on scarce land with competing uses. Wise, forward-looking decisions IN THIS OCP must be clear about priorities. It's not about the words on the page. It's about the intent and values that outline what we want North Saanich to be in 30 years. We must be diligent if we are to avoid unintended consequences for North Saanich that can not be reversed.

  • Here's a Knowledge Hack to clarify my opinion of the OCP . Consider the lowly TOC - Table of Contents. At the start of any knowledge project, you begin with a draft TOC. It is maybe 2 pages long. At the end of the process, you end up with a 100 page document and a TOC that is...also 2 pages long. But as any consultant who has ever gone WAY over budget knows, there is a huge range in what effort, diligence, and insight goes into producing that content. It could have taken 10 hours or 10,000 hours to produce the same 100 pages. How can you tell if you have high-quality output? You measure by how well you can ACTION on the contents (how well it can be used in the real world). I have been saying for over a year and am emphatically re-stating it now. There are critical pieces still missing or not yet done, on our draft OCP. There are still more questions than answers. Much of our information is old, it's questionable if it's relevant to the future? (see "knowledge hacking" effective policy development).

  • What concerns me is many people think this draft is mostly done. There are two major gaps and still much to do .

    • 1) A UNIFIED LONG-TERM VISION. There is, as yet, no unified (agreed upon) long-term vision for the community (30 year long-range direction). Housing first? Environment first? Agriculture first? An articulated vision, tells you what to prioritize and why. Until we clarify, we are not done.

      • These are ARE COMPETING LAND-USES that are executed differently, housing through an EXISTING REACTIVE HOUSING PERMITTING PROCESS. Whereas climate or agriculture-first strategies, must be pro-actively designed and built using corporate development practices that North Saanich does do enough of.

      • How do we get to a vision everyone can MOSTLY agree on? First is to find the will to collaborate in a multi-stakeholder environment (see "knowledge hacks" - Analyzing multi-stakeholder environments).. then look out into the future, weighing trade-offs and benefits through scenario planning (see "knowledge hacks - future trend and end-state analysis). The current, polarized debate is, unfortunately, being hashed out like a war instead of a discussion. I advocate a third option to the Housing First vs. Agriculture first debate.  We advocate for an Innovation-first approach: The Peninsula Innovation and Adaptation Gateway Strategy (see Projects and Ideas - PIAGS) This is how we build lasting value,

    • 2) There is yet no PROPERLY SUPPORTED POLICY FRAMEWORK that informs and integrates the 6 themes. Many residents have noted that on a gut level, but perhaps could not exactly put their finger on where the gaps are. What we have now is a TOC and template informed by mostly end-user opinion polls and a basic list of possible initiatives. See the "knowledge hacking" tab to understand why that isn't enough for actionable policy and long-range strategy development. (see knowledge hacking #1 - understanding base research).

  • Restore Effective Policy Development Best Practices. As a candidate we were provided an expert workshop clarifying what the Community Charter outlines as the ideal relationship between staff and council and the public. Council owns the POLICY FABRIC and staff IMPLEMENTS AND OPERATES. But during policy development phases, there should be a constructive dialogue between what Mayor Orr calls "the three-legged stool" consisting of staff, council and the public. Polarization made this dialogue contentious. I would like to see a more balanced dialogue between staff, council and the public, for the upcoming 4 year term to restore proper functioning as the Community Charter intended. However, I fear polarization may continue to disappoint. For those who feel the same, support candidates who can collaborate and are willing to do the hard work to meet the challenges ahead, without pre-concieved biases.

Question 3 - Why do you want to be on council?
... or as my friends and family put it, "Why on EARTH do you want to be on council when there are so many better things you could be doing?"

  • To keep our friends and neighbours informed and represent them since they could not represent themselves. There is no such thing as 100% engagement in municipal affairs, but we have neighbours who literally do not speak English, are too elderly to go outside or are not healthy enough to participate in the process. I was horrified to hear callous comments like "It's their own fault if residents don't bother to pay attention!". Is that fair? For almost two years, my husband and I have been following the OCP and engaging with the district on their behalf. Over time, this included the whole McTavish neighbourhood. NO RESIDENT DESERVES TO SUFFER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES JUST FOR NOT PAYING ATTENTION if we can do better by them.

  • Because we can and should do better by our residents. The OCP process was polarizing and tearing our community apart. This may be news to some of you reading, but this is old news to those of us who have been involved. McTavish is the most affected neighbourhood. Residents described it this way. "It's like we have warring parents and our fate is going to be decided by who can sling the most mud and outmanoeuver the other, INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON WHAT'S BEST FOR THE KIDS". But this is not unique to North Saanich. This conflict is happening across Canada today because we are running out of greenfield land and have increasingly competing uses for what we already have. All 13 municipalities are seeing the most number of candidates in years. THIS SIGNALS SYSTEM STRESS in OCP planning as a system.

  • Because the better thing I have been doing IS DESIGNING SOLUTIONS to wicked problems. At a council meeting when things were getting heated, a councillor said, "I think the real issue here is that we are dealing with a Wicked Problem, aren't we?".  I am writing a book called "Knowledge Hacking Wicked Problems in an Age of Exponential Change". It aims to build knowledge-hacking tools to short-hand our way through seas of information to solve the problems of our time. Why not use them to solve problems in my own community? (see Multiple Crises in "knowledge hacking" tab - coming soon). 

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