Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Local Civic Watchdog Groups

In 2008 in the lead up to the municipal elections there were a number of civic watchdog groups that came into existence. We had the Saanich Civic League, Steve Hurdle had Inside Langford, right after the election there was the Victoria Voter's League. All of them have been quiet for some time.

I am not surprised that the Saanich Civic League has gone dormant. I did not see the energy and drive there that launched the Guelph Civic League in Ontario. The SCL was clearly a partisan group which decided what the public wanted before asking them.

The Victoria Voter's League had a lot of energy right after the election, though strongly from people that ran from council and did not do that well.

Steve Hurdle has not been extracting much interesting news from the Kingdom of Langford and his majesty Stew the First. Is this is sign that things are better in Langford and the public seems closer to the council? Certainly I am not hearing much from the opposition minority any longer.

Sue Stroud did much of the same sort of thing in Central Saanich, but she has been rather quiet since the summer. She has been the one person watchdog for farm land and trees in the area.

The various neighbourhood groups continue on, but even on that level I am hearing less from the ones that I pay closest attention to - Burnside Gorge and Tillicum Gorge.

Other than Jim Legh, there is almost a complete silence on the amalgamation front. The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has been absent in in any sort of civic issues for most of the last year.

The only civic watchdog group in all of greater Victoria that I can find that is active is JohnsonStreetBridge.org - though I expect that group to diminish as the issue changes. The bridge seems to be the only issue that has managed to get anyone interested.

The Green Party was active in the last municipal elections and even elected two members to Victoria City Council, but the Greens do not seem to be doing anything on the ground.

Vibrant Victoria, the main online place to discuss issues of civic politics in this region has seen the level of traffic drop off. It is now only a small core that are regularly taking part in discussion. Yes, I am one of those geeks expressing an opinion there.

Civic engagement seems to at a rather low level in this region at the moment, this does not bode well for good local governance and for an engaged and lively local election in 2011. Anyone have any idea why civic engagement has dropped off so much lately?


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A quick note on my comment of Ross Crockford being well placed to run for mayor - he was over for dinner last night and made it entirely clear he has no interest in getting elected to anything. He has several books to write.
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