Monday, July 14, 2008

Stroud declares for council

Back in the mid 1980s, I worked with Sue Stroud on issues related to funding higher education and peace issues. I have drifted to being a libertarian and Sue has remained clearly on the conventional left.

Sue has a strong passion for her community and will work hard as a councilor for Central Saanich.

Peninsula News Review
Stroud declares for council

By Christine van Reeuwyk - Peninsula News Review

Published: July 09, 2008 2:00 PM
Updated: July 09, 2008 2:04 PM

A familiar face in the gallery at Central Saanich council meetings has thrown her hat into the ring for the November municipal election. Sue Stroud, who ran for council during the election in 2005, began her official pitch for a position as councillor with advertising in early March. Residents may also recognize her as a regular at Monday night meetings.

“I want to try to understand what’s going on,” said Stroud. “I think it would be a bit odd not to go to council meetings and run for council.”

She knows there would be a learning curve, should her bid for council be successful, but is willing to invest the time.

“If you have time to give you should give it,” Stroud said, noting she has no children to take up her time. “If I’m going to sit around and make comments, I should put my money where my mouth is. Also I think I’m a good ideas person.”

In the way that communities tend to pull together in the face of tragedy, her hope is to see the community pull together around less obvious concerns, such as environment and housing.

“We just need to talk a lot more, meet a lot more and listen a lot more,” Stroud said.

Everybody loves going green these days, she said, but that may mean sacrifices; for example she’d like to see no drive-through’s in the municipality.

“Luckily we do have only one,” she said.

Lobbying for better transit and to get cars off the road are a priority for Stroud. [As a member of the BCGEU, she has helped support the soft-plastics recycling recently implemented in Central Saanich and Wild Arc.]

“I think it’s important for people in the union to see people in the community doing things,” she said. Central Saanich resident John Creviston is the administrator for the wild animal rehabilitation branch of the BC SPCA and McTavish elementary students and staff were the impetus for the soft plastics recycling.

Stroud, who works with BC Housing, sees affordable housing in the district as another challenge. She sees missed opportunities with recent developments not being forced to implement affordable housing. “Other communities are doing that,” she said. “It’s a simple as saying in the OCP that 10 per cent of every new development is affordable housing.”

She clarified that affordable would mean low purchase price and smaller mortgage over longer period with procedures in place to allow a family to sell the property as they move on for a small increase — while not enabling “flipping” for huge profit.

“That gives all those young families a place to start,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing that’s missing.”

As well, she’d like to see more subsidized housing.

“We’ve just totally abandoned single parent families and low income families and not just [in] Central Saanich,” she said.

Stroud, who is also the secretary for the local ratepayers association — a position she will give up during the June AGM — would like to see more community meetings with one-on-one interaction with residents.

“Things where they don’t all sit in a line at the front,” she said. “I just think the council should be a place where people feel welcomed. I’d almost like to have the mayor say that every Monday night, ‘Welcome and thank you for coming’.”

Stroud attends a community gathering each Friday night at 7 p.m. at JJ’s coffee shop in Brentwood Bay.

“We’ve talked about everything under the sun and some things that come up at council and lots of things that don’t,” she said. “It’s to get people talking and having ideas.”

Her vision includes better promotion of meetings, citing a large sign in Langford that she saw, inviting residents to discuss the OCP.

“When people don’t know things are going on they think you’re trying to trick them,” she said. That kind of signage may not get more people coming out to comment necessarily, she added, but at least people would trust that the council is doing a good job.

Another concept she likes, is to increase the community events such as extending Brentwood Festival — including shutting down streets — and perhaps moving Music in the Park to various sites throughout the municipality, like Polo Park. Those can go hand in hand with earlier assertions, seeking to get the municipality to go more green by encouraging people to attend events, including the Saanich Fair, by bus.

“We just have to think a little differently I think,” she said. “We manage to do that when there’s a crisis.”

Stroud hosts a blog at

On Woodwynn

Stroud is a fan of the plan for a therapeutic community at Woodwynn Farm.

“I think it’s unfortunate there seems to be some fear about it and some misinformation,” she said. As an example she said she’s heard people say the farm should go organic, which is what the Richard LeBlanc, CEO of the Creating Homefulness Society has said they plan to do.

“I personally think it’s a wonderful use for that farm,” Stroud said. The existing buildings, she said, should be sufficient for the plan.

Plus those residing on the farm would be “passing through,” she said. “Over time you would need it less because this is part of a process to put an end to homelessness.”

She intends to contribute her $100 carbon tax rebate to Creating Homefulness.
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