LETTER: City hall needs change of direction

Many people have highlighted the plethora of concerns at Victoria City Hall. These are mirrored in Saanich where we have had a dysfunctional, acrimonious council for the past four years.

Sixty per cent of council time is take up with frivolous issues, including endless planning applications and variances when we have a handsomely paid department to do that. Each session of council begins with an in-camera meeting. Where is the transparency?

Petty lawsuits, expensive court cases and settlements are the norm. Requests for even trivial items require FOIs which are returned heavily redacted usually well beyond the 45 day limit. Five years ago the province requested that these be posted on the website; there has been no action. Hundreds of staff receive remunerations in excess of $100,000. There is no accountability; projects are months late and millions over budget. We have dozens of fire chiefs, captains and lieutenants.

Taxes have consistently increased at double the inflation rate. There appears to be no attempt to curtail spending. And the debt keeps mounting, much of it hidden at the redundant CRD, where the red line is fast approaching one billion dollars, that’s a thousand million. While we are happily building bike lanes that very few use, sidewalks remain a rarity, sewers and firelines are 50 years old in many areas, and street lighting is largely 1980s’ vintage.

We need to see some radical change in the November election. We need to employ full-time councillors, and hold managers and staff responsible and accountable for their actions and the taxpayers’ money.

Anthony Rose

Saanich

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