Friday, March 26, 2010

Victoria OCP Forum this Evening

I had wanted to get to this forum earlier but life intervened so Sheila and I got there just as people had started talking about what they wanted in their city. We got to sit at the table with the keynote speaker Mark Holland.

My Observations of the Evening:
  • A very select audience. Very few blue collar, very few chamber of commerce types, older than average for the city and very few people that struck as likely Conservative supporters
  • People focused on their neighbourhood and not the whole city. Downtown did not exist in the thoughts of the people.
  • There was almost no discussion of anything related to the economics of the city - I was the only one that raised the desperate need for more industrial lands.
  • Most people talked about transportation, the need to people out of their cars - this is odd as it is something Victoria does well on and not an area that needs much more work.
  • Much was made of the need to have everything in one neighbourhood, but no one was making the connection that the reason there are so few shops in most neighbourhoods is that the public will not spend enough money there.
  • Walkability was raised a lot. I think it is something the city could work on, but the areas that need the work are north of Hillside and west of Blanshard. The rest of the city does not need much help on this.
  • Food security came up as an issue and frankly I do not think that the people had any idea what they meant by that and really using it as a code for locally grown food sold in small businesses. Once again there was no consideration of economics. More food would be grown here is people would buy it for the price it cost to produce.

I am not sure what is going to come of this evening in effectively guiding the city OCP.

Since the people at the meeting were a completely skewed representation of the city, the City needs to go out and find the Conservatives, the business people, and the blue collar workers and find out what they think and want of the city. The people there tonight reflect only the views of a minority of the population and relying on the data coming from the evening as being functionally useful for the planning process is not a good idea.
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