Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family, and best wishes in 2011!

2010 has been busy and exciting! I have been fortunate to enjoy your support in moving forward with a number of important initiatives. I welcome your continued feedback and ideas as we turn our attention to our 2011 priorities (please click the Contact Me tab at the top of this page).

It is my great pleasure to be the new Chair of the Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee and Liaison to the Saanich Youth Council. A new year brings a new focus on youth engagement in our community and promoting healthy and active living. I am also excited to work on a food security action plan and growing urban food. I appreciate your suggestions to promote healthy Saanich communities. Please send me your ideas.

Transportation and personal mobility continue to be our priorities this year. We’re ensuring that pedestrians have a safe and quality walking environment in the neighbourhoods where they live by adding another half a million dollars to the sidewalk construction budget. My motion encouraging BC Transit to select rail-based rapid transit on the Douglas corridor could also mean enormous environmental, social, and economic benefits and reduced traffic congestion. I hope you will join me in conveying support for a rail-based rapid transit system. Send BC Transit an email: VRRT@bctransit.com

Climate change and environmental sustainability remain high priorities. After months of development and consultation, we adopted the Saanich Climate Action Plan and implemented key climate initiatives. The plan is a blueprint to cut our greenhouse gas emissions in the community by one-third and to achieve a 50 per cent reduction for all municipal operations in the next decade. We’re also keeping toxic chemicals out of our gardens and our watercourses by banning cosmetic pesticides, starting May 1st this year. Finally, Councillor Judy Brownoff and I received the unanimous support of Council for our motion calling on senior levels of government to ban offshore oil drilling and restrict coastal oil tanker traffic. Is Saanich taking the rights steps for the climate and environment? Please let me know what you think.

After years of discussion, this year Saanich Council amended its bylaw to recognize and permit secondary suites south of McKenzie Ave. With the high cost of housing in our region, secondary suites provide an element of affordability to the suite-renter and the home-owner. The amendment allows secondary suites and legally recognizes a large stock of affordably-priced rental housing.

Best of the Season to you and your family and a Happy New Year.

Dean Murdock
Saanich Councillor