Letter: Duncan candidates dedicated, concerned

Impression that despite the good intentions of council, not much will be achieved

Duncan candidates dedicated, concerned

I have just attended a meeting of Duncan city council candidates for election at Duncan United Church.

Surprisingly, if it wasn’t for the church inviting them to speak, those of us living in this one square mile would not have had any chance to hear what they had to say or find out who they were as people, as no other public meeting was called. As it was, the meeting was hardly publicized in any arena that would reach all the citizens concerned, and the myriad of signs around tells one nothing about the candidates.

I found all the candidates were dedicated, concerned and in most issues brought up, were in agreement with all concerns raised. They may be able to do something about one major concern, which was lack of communication with the citizens. Most of us did not know about the OCP or community vision for the future, or how to input.

Everyone wanted to retain the attractiveness of Duncan, yet sees building high as the only alternative. Extending our boundaries even to areas we service seems out of the realms of possibility.

The major issues were homelessness, the cost of housing, the lack of doctors, the height of new developments and how they could easily be occupied, not by locals for whom they were intended, but by those who work in Victoria and are looking to live in a more affordable place.

Parking and crime and mental health were everyone’s concern, but it is obvious the council can only lobby provincial and federal governments, who are not so likely to be swayed by our small community, and Duncan’s hands are tied.

The judicial system means criminals are tried and let back out on the streets to re-offend in many cases. More street surveillance, cameras and lighting all need more money from a small base of taxpayers, some of whom will no longer be able to live in their homes as taxes increase to meet those needs — plus Duncan city salaries that even go as high as $130,000 per year. The average income for residents is $27,000 which means new rentals are out of reach. Elderly and even families are already on the streets, and very little can be done without more government support.

I came away with the impression that despite the good intentions of council, not much will be achieved. By listening and communicating efficiently and cutting red tape, more good will could be generated — but that still leaves the main problems which are only going to increase.

P. Foot