Victoria City Council Sworn In Today

Victoria City Mayor and Councillors were sworn into office Thursday morning.

The ceremony, held at Victoria City Hall, was led by a song and dance by the Laqwongan Traditional Dancers. A blessing was also given, by Songhees Nation Councillor Garry Sam.

Mayor Lisa Helps was first to sign the Oath of Office, promising to serve the city first, followed by the councillors.  Once all the councillors had signed the document and taken their seats,  Lisa Helps delivered her inaugural speech.  

Helps says she sees several issues facing Victoria, affordability, climate change, prosperity and wellbeing, and the citizens assembly on amalgamation.

She says there are three main approaches to affordability. The first approach is Housing On All Fronts which she says includes "ideas like buying land to build more housing, larger garden suites, moveable tiny homes, inclusionary housing policy, creative partnerships with other levels of government and other entities, doing more with the land we already have, co-ops, community land trusts, and more." She adds that affordability is more than just housing, and the second approach will include affordable child care and transportation. The third approach to affordability is ensuring that taxes and fees don't drain residents and businesses.

Climate change is also a big issue, and Victoria has a Climate Change Plan, Which Helps asks that everyone read. Helps wants to create a "Climate Ambassador Program" "where we, you, select one child, one youth, one adult and one elder from each neighborhood. And they become the Neighbourhood Climate Ambassadors to inspire change on their own streets, in their schools, and in their workplaces.  She adds that Victoria is working with the German city Heidelberg to co-create a conference on "Climate Neighbourhoods."

The city plans to continue to play a big role in creating a community where businesses can continue to thrive. She adds the city will continue their role in the Vancouver Island Community Benefit Hub, and in the South Island Prosperity Project.  

And Saanich and Victoria have agreed to create a Citizens Assembly to explore the potential of amalgamating the two districts.  The citizens will be chosen at random, conduct individual research, and come together to make a recommendation to their Councils.

She says all of these issues need to be handled, and no single one is a top priority.  

Following the speech, Councillors were appointed to the Capital Regional District Board and Hospital Board.  Mayor Helps, along with Coucillors Isitt, Loveday and Young were appointed and Councillors Collins and Alto were named first and second alternate, respectively.

Helps says the new council is passionate, committed, and dedicated to working with residents to serve Victoria.

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