Author: lisahelps

  • Reconciliation Grant: The Real Numbers and the Rationale

    This past week, the Grumpy Taxpayer$ published a blog post and sent out a newsletter with inaccurate information about the proposed reconciliation grant to the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations that Council is considering as part of our 2022 budget process. The Grumpys are calling the grant a “reconciliation tax” which it is not. But more […]

  • Part 3. Missing Middle Housing, Design Guidelines, and the Protection of Neighbourhood Character

    The City is currently undertaking consultation on a proposal to implement Missing Middle Housing in all neighbourhoods and allow for more inclusive housing forms “as of right”, which means without needing to go through a rezoning process. The Missing Middle Housing initiative is focused on creating more townhouses and houseplexes (including duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, etc.) […]

  • New Year’s Message: Co-Existence Key to Healthy Democracy, Community in 2022

    At the beginning of 2021, we were in a pandemic. We were living with significant restrictions in terms of how and where we could spend our time and who we could spend it with. In the summer, restrictions eased up a bit – we even stopped wearing masks inside for a few weeks. Our small […]

  • Part 2. Missing Middle Housing, Tenant Protections, and How Missing Middle Upzoning Alone Won’t Solve the Affordability Crisis

    NB Please consider this post a “long read”. I appreciate you taking the time to sift through the complexities and nuances. Please share this post with others who also might be interested in understanding the multi-faceted approach the City is taking to addressing the housing crisis. The City is currently undertaking consultation on a proposal […]

  • Part 1. The Racist and Exclusionary History of Single Family Zoning

    NB I have updated this post after receiving feedback from Gordon Price through his blog post in response to mine. He and I come to different conclusions about the history of single family zoning and the current need to replace it with more inclusive zoning. The City is currently undertaking consultation on a proposal to […]

  • Privacy, Loneliness, and Climate Adaptation

    At just about every land use public hearing I’ve sat through for the last seven years, the issue of privacy comes up. Often neighbours are opposed to new developments because they feel like their privacy will be compromised. Applicants building the housing go to great lengths to stress the “privacy screens” they’ve incorporated into their […]

  • Victoria’s 2022 Budget Sets the Table for the Future

    I’ve been at the Council table for 10 years; this is my 11th budget, and it’s going to be the most difficult one yet. Budget 2022 is the City’s third pandemic budget. It’s also difficult because like other cities across Canada, Victoria is facing big challenges: pandemic recovery, housing affordability, climate change, public safety, equity […]

  • The World Is Coming Apart at the Seams and Why We Should Embrace It

    A few weeks ago, the City of Victoria, the Victoria Foundation and the Canadian Urban Institute came together to host an “urban intensive” called CUIxVictoria – Vital Conversations for Our Shared Future. It was a very powerful three-day series of discussion and dialogue. If you missed it, you can catch all the sessions on the […]

  • Welcoming Victoria: An Inclusive, Anti-Racist City

    To learn more about the process of developing the Welcoming City Strategy and to meet some members of the Welcoming City Task Force, join online this Wednesday October 20th from 5:00-6:30pm for a virtual panel discussion as part of CUIxVictoria – Vital Conversations for Our Shared Future. You can register for the Welcoming City session […]

  • Late September Strawberries, and the Work of Reconciliation

    I wrote this poem while picking strawberries, a few days before the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – marked in Victoria since 2017 as Orange Shirt Day – to honour and support residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors, and the families of those who didn’t come home. Late September Strawberries maybe it’s climate changeor […]


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