Tuesday, August 8th 2017
Victoria Times Colonist | link
A political commentator is joining the race for Saanich council. Mike Geoghegan, who works as a lobbying and media-relations consultant, will vie in a Sept. 23 byelection for the seat vacated by Vic Derman.
Nathalie Chambers, Karen Harper, Shawn Newby and Rebecca Mersereau are also competing to replace Derman, who died March 17.
Geoghegan said he’s motivated to run by three things: the need to build more housing; a desire to reduce municipal taxes; and the need for greater transparency in government.
“We’re turning this region into a playground for the well-off and average folks are no longer able to live, work and play here,” he said.
Geoghegan’s previous government experience includes five years as a ministerial assistant in the Harcourt government. He spent seven years on Langford’s planning and zoning committee.
Although he supported Richard Atwell’s successful 2014 campaign for mayor, he said he considers himself independent. “Some of the incumbent council is getting pretty long in the tooth and it’s time for fresh faces,” he said.
Tuesday, August 8th 2017
Saanich News | link
The newest candidate vying for a spot on Saanich council wants the district to do away with its controversial Environmental Development Permit area, calling it “an exercise in bureaucratic redundancy.”
Michael Geoghegan is the fifth candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the Sept. 23 byelection to fill the vacancy created by the death of Coun. Vic Derman in March.
Geoghegan, a 51-year-old government relations consultant, said the EDPA duplicates many existing environmental regulations covered by the provincial and federal governments.
“Saanich took it upon itself to act as if none of these other things existed. To me it seems like it’s been a huge headache at tremendous expense, and a bit of a make-work project for some biologist consultants. Let’s get rid of it, we’ve got more than enough adequate protection.”
He sees housing, taxes and accountability as the three main issues facing Saanich residents, and addressing those issues is what prompted him to seek public office.
Geoghegan said more inventory is the solution to the current housing crisis, and Saanich is seeing too many housing projects being delayed, denied or downsized, resulting in a reduction in the number of units available for sale or rent.
“Councillors have been so fixated on not upsetting the immediate people in the area because there’s going to be a building there, it’s created this crisis where we have a 0.5 per cent vacancy rate.”
He’s calling for a shift in focus from single-family homes towards more higher-density residential construction, along with commercial and industrial development, as ways to grow the district’s tax base.
“What you’re able to do is give your existing taxpayers a break,” said Geoghegan, pointing to a 58 per cent increase in Saanich property taxes between 2006 and 2016. “If we can grow the tax base then we don’t have to keep going back to the taxpayers to pick their pocket.”
He also wants to see a move to greater accountability, and will take steps to ensure spyware will not be placed on the computers of elected officials, as was discovered shortly after the 2014 municipal elections. “Why was new mayor’s computer loaded with spyware? Who made that decision?” he asked, calling for more transparency.
“It’s time for a little sunlight to come in on what appears to be a rather shady situation,” said Geoghegan. “This council dragged its feet on webcasting its council hearings. Let there be greater transparency.”
Geoghegan joins Shawn Newby, Natalie Chambers, Rebecca Mersereau and Karen Harper as candidates who have declared for the Sept. 23 byelection.
Tuesday, August 8th 2017
Campaign Annnouncement Press Release | For pdf version click here
Today I am pleased to announce that I will be running in the upcoming Saanich by election. I am motivated to run by three things:
1) More Housing: the current vacancy rate of 0.5 percent has translated into skyrocketing housing costs for both home buyers and renters alike. The only solution is to build more inventory. Saanich as the largest municipality within the CRD has to be part of that solution.
“Currently far too many housing preojects are being denied, delayed or downsized by council. We need to ensure that housing which caters to not just high income earners but also those who are middle class and low income is also being built.”
2) Lower Taxes: as a long time Saanich resident I am fed up with seeing my municipal tax bill increasing year after year.
“As the graph shows Saanich increased taxes 58% from 2006 to 2016. It is high time that Saanich learned to live within the means of its taxpayers many of whom have not seen their income increase at all in those same ten years.”
3) Greater Accountability: It is a difficult subject but it is long overdue that some sunlight was brought to the dealings that have been going on at Saanich Municipal Hall and within the CRD. Whether it is millions of taxpayers’ dollars being wasted on missteps concerning the CRD Sewage Project or the criminal act of placing spyware on the then newly elected Saanich Mayor’s computer, there clearly needs to be greater accountability and transparency with regards to the decisions being made at both the CRD and Saanich.
“As a Saanich Councilor I will ensure that never again are staff directed to place spyware on an elected officials computer and I will also ensure that never again are Saanich police resources used to harass a candidate for office as apparently happened in the last general election. I look forward to cleaning up Saanich and having a community that we can all be proud of.”
As someone who served for seven years on Langford’s Planning and Zoning Committee, I have seen first hand how increased higher density residential, commercial and industrial development can lead to lower taxes while at the samer time being able to greatly enhance community ammenities and infrastructure.
It has also been recently brought to my attention that Saanich is one of the few municipalities that marks up the cost of water that is provided by the CRD. This form of hidden taxation is a regressive tax that I will seek to repeal.
Saanich needs to be a community where people can live work and play with higher density housing complemented by preserved green space, enhanced bike and hiking trails and the like.
“I am a huge fan of the Lochside and Galloping Goose Trails. My family and I frequently use them and I support opportunities to create and upgrade more biking corridors that are separate from regular street traffic.”
Greater Victoria has a population less than that of Burnaby yet we are divided into 13 different municpal governments. Clearly some form of amalgamation would be benificial and I would support holding a referendum to give all residents within the CRD a say in this matter.
The EDPA has been a costly exercise in bureaucratic redundancy. We have both federal and provincial environmental regulations and a municipal tree by law. We also have the usual Saanich shenannigans around the manner in which the EDPA was implemented. For example we have the farcical situation where sidewalks and paved driveways have been designated as Environmentally Protected Designated Areas. As a Saanich Councilor I will vote for the rescinding of the EDPA.
Given my positive relationship with a number of CRD area mayors and councilors I am confident that I can also bring to Saanich and the CRD a greater level of cooperation and coordination that will benefit all area residents. My excellent connections to both provincial and federal politicians means that I will also be able to bring more in the way of matching infrastructure dollars to Saanich.
As the former CEO of Accumulated Ocean Energy Canada, a start up wave energy company, I have had the pleasure of meeting with a wide range of people from our region’s burgeoning high tech community. These clean green high paying jobs are ones I wish to ensure we continue to attract.
But along with those high paying jobs are the many other jobs we rely on. That is why we need to ensure that the people who build our homes, the folks who serve our coffee and the young couple looking to start a family can purchase or rent affordable housing.
That means not only building more housing but also making sure that what is being constructed meets the needs of all our citizens and not just the wealthy few. Social housing co-op housing and the like are all things we can increase via a colloborative approach with both private developers and other levels of government.
For further information please contact:
Mike Geoghegan contact
Tuesday, August 1st 2017
Monday Morning Mike on CFAX-1070