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Plus: how do Greater Victoria councils compare in terms of online accessibility?
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TOGETHER WITH

Victoria Foundation
Good morning!

Mondays are a big night for council meetings in Greater Victoria. Tonight, Saanich, Central Saanich, Sidney, Oak Bay, Colwood, and Sooke all hold their regular council meetings. If you live in one of those municipalities and have never been to a meeting, tonight might be the night to go in person—or just watch online.

However, not all council meetings are easy to watch for people who want to stay civically engaged from the comfort of their own home. We took the time to rank each municipality in terms of their online accessibility. Read the full ranking below.

—Jolene,
newsletter editor

Today's Weather: A mix of sun and cloud with a 30% chance of rain or flurries in the morning. High of 4 and low of 1.

Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

MUNICIPAL MONDAY

How easy is it to keep an eye on council chambers from the comfort of home?

When it comes to civic engagement, nothing beats attending a council meeting in person. Be it the buzz of a well-attended council meeting or the stuffy near-silence of an almost empty chamber, showing up is the best way to get a feel for what’s going on in any municipality and how engaged its citizens are.

But sometimes, being present at an evening council meeting just isn’t possible—especially now that we are living with the COVID pandemic and even a light case of the sniffles means staying away from public events.

That’s where digital options to view or attend council meetings become crucial.

Over at The Westshore, reporter Zoë Ducklow recently worked up a rubric for assessing how well local councils are doing at helping the public engage with their regular meetings. Now Capital Daily has applied that rubric to the seven other municipalities in Greater Victoria, as well as the Capital Regional District’s board of directors.

See how your council stacks up!


—By Shannon Waters, with files from Capital Daily staff

Capital Bulletin

🚔 A man was arrested on Saturday during the Peninsula Co-op Santa Claus Parade after he allegedly assaulted a man and tried to instigate additional fights. VicPD says as officers moved to arrest the man, he began to fight them, injuring an officer. Victoria police are seeking witnesses.

Photo: Jimmy Thomson / Capital Daily

NEWS

More internationally trained doctors to practice in BC with new measures

The BC government is aiming to boost the number of doctors in the province by making it easier for physicians trained internationally to begin practicing here.

On Sunday, Premier David Eby and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that the number of seats in the Practice Ready Assessment program will be tripled to 96 annually by March 2024. The program is the only path for internationally trained physicians to get a licence to practice in BC.

The expanded program promises to send more of the graduates to urban communities—until now, most of the graduates have gone to rural and remote areas.

The province is also introducing a new restricted registration class for internationally trained doctors who are ineligible for the Practice Ready Assessment program. This would allow them to care for patients under the direction and supervision of an attending physician at acute care facilities.

Read the full story by Jolene Rudisuela

COUNCIL CORNER
Ship Point plan headed to public hearing

Plans to rezone part of Ship Point to allow recreational use of the waterfront at the heart of the Inner Harbour will soon be up for public comment.

Victoria city council gave preliminary approval to rezone 700 Government St.—a piece of land that runs along Wharf Street from Courtney Street to Government and then down Government to Bellville Street—to remove parking requirements and allow recreational facilities.

The next step is to schedule a public hearing on the proposal.

Much of the area proposed for rezoning is currently a waterfront parking lot but the city’s Ship Point Master Plan envisions a sloping lawn, terraced greenspace and a festival pier able to accommodate a variety of events—such as Ska Fest and the Dragon Boat Festival—along with a permanent concession.

The plan has been gathering dust since 2018, when the previous council received it but never directed staff to complete costing and implementation details. Mayor Marianne Alto championed the redeveloping of Ship Point in her campaign platform as a “spectacular addition to the waterfront and inner harbour” that could create up to 100 construction jobs and benefit tourism and downtown livability.

“It’s a catalyst for the re-imagining of a landmark natural, whole ecosystem feature that starts in the city and graces the region,” Alto’s platform says. “It’s time to dust off the plan, update it and get to work.”

By Shannon Waters

Victoria Foundation

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TOGETHER WITH VICTORIA FOUNDATION
The results of Victoria’s 2022 Vital Signs report are in!

Vital Signs is an annual check-up that measures the vitality of the region as seen through the eyes of the community. Using data from a citizen survey completed by over 2,500 people and data from secondary sources, the report explores how Greater Victoria fares in 12 key issue areas.

The 2022 report identifies housing, cost of living, and healthcare as the most pressing issues faced by respondents. Overall quality of life in Greater Victoria scored a B+ grade, with citizens ranking the natural environment, climate, and local parks as some of the best things about living here.

Read the
full Vital Signs report, or take a much deeper dive into the data at Greater Victoria’s Data Hub, which acts as an in-depth companion to the report.

Capital Picks

🏠 Edible holiday displays: Habitat for Humanity’s 14th annual Gingerbread Showcase is back at the Parkside Hotel & Spa atrium from now until Jan. 2. Donate to vote for your favourite of the 20+ creations.

🐮 Give meaningful gifts on behalf of your loved ones and practical help to families in need. Peck through Food for the Hungry’s plucky online Gift Guide!*

💞 Giving Tuesday: Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and the Victoria Hospital Foundation is raising money for a new patient monitoring system for Victoria General Hospital’s ICU. Donations will be matched up to $50,000.

🚀 Dash to your goal! Fund your passion or make a full time income by delivering with DoorDash. Become a Dasher. Sign up now.*

*Sponsored Listing

Capital Daily Holiday Drive

In Other News

🚀 UVic’s first satellite launches into space
On Saturday, after multiple delays, the ORCASat mini satellite launched into space aboard a SpaceX rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre. Early Sunday morning, it arrived at the International Space Station. Last week, Capital Daily wrote about the team and the four years of work behind this project.

🤝 Province will no longer get rid of autism funding
A plan announced last year would have phased out individualized autism funding in 2025, but Premier David Eby announced on Friday that the funding would remain in place and the province is committing to more consultation with caregivers, First Nations, and experts.

Heart Pharmacy

Advertiser content
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HEART PHARMACY
Pharmacists are key during doctor shortage

Heart Pharmacy is stepping up to help their customers and increase awareness around pharmacists’ scope of practice, which some people may find surprising.

Learn more.

In Case You Missed It

💸 Experts talk affordability crisis: In a recent panel moderated by Capital Daily, panelists discussed the Island’s ongoing affordability crisis and some of the possible solutions. Read the full recap at Capital Daily.

🐻 Bear & Joey is a neighbourhood meeting hub on Cook Street. Come by for morning coffee, brunch, or drinks for a bit of Sydney, Australia, right here in Victoria.*

😋 The Tasting Victoria Restaurant Awards are back! You can now vote for your favourite restaurant. Don't forget to share this with a friend so they can vote too!

💲 Plan for your retirement. Learn how Victoria-area Portfolio Managers Brian Howe and Gareth Dickson at Odlum Brown Limited can help you reach your financial goals.*
*Sponsored Listing

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