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AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)EcoNews reaches thousands of people each month, including every MLA in BC and every CRD municipal politician. It’s 95% funded by donations from readers like you. If you value the information it provides, will you support it with a donation?

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Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
Tel (250) 881-1304

Executive director of The Solutions Project


Newsletter No. 88 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Nov. 1999


It's not an easy job. Every week, there are meetings to attend - library meetings, neighbourhood meetings, bus-route meetings, committee meetings, sub-committee meetings, distressed citizen meetings, police board meetings, and of course, regular council meetings, with piles of minutes and agendas to digest.

And that's if you're not trying to change the world.

If you are trying to change the world, there are cyclists to be formed into task forces, neighbourhood groups to be drawn into design charrettes, proposals to be developed, city budgets to be understood and adjusted, fellow-councillors to be persuaded, city staff to be brought round.

All this, for a part-time wage and very little thanks.

And yet, this November, thousands of people are out with their supporters knocking on doors, attending meetings, distributing brochures, raising funds, trying to drum up the support they need to engage in three years of hard work, late nights, and often stressed marriages - as municipal councillors. You've got to give them credit.

At the municipal level, they say that if you've got three things, you can change the world : (1) a willing and vocal citizenry; (2) a progressive, informed staff, and (3) a majority on council. So what's to be changed ? What might our new councillors be doing. to mark the first three years of the new millennium, that might REALLY make a difference ?

Firstly - traffic calming. We drive too much (releasing pollutants and greenhouse gases), and our streets are no longer safe for children and pets. Yet every so often, we pay good money to repave residential streets to make them smoother. Let's give the responsibility for residential street maintenance to the community development division or the parks and recreation department, instead of the traffic engineers. Every time a street is due to be repaved, let's turn it into a chance for its residents to redesign it. Let's make our residential streets work first for their residents, then for their cars.

Next - let's organize ourselves so that ever municipality encourages neighbourhood groups to become established in a recognized way, as Victoria does, and be involved in local decision-making. Let's encourage neighbours to form community circles on the streets where they live, building resilience and support, recreating the links that used to exist 50 years ago.

Then there's the Internet. Let's use it not just for press releases and committee minutes, but to involve people in contributing suggestions, to conduct straw polls, to publish ecological and zoning maps, to track the voting record of councillors, to describe how the budget works, to receive taxes and fees, to seek input on rezoning proposals long before they go to a public hearing.

Plus - we need an integrated Transportation Authority so that we can plan together for a complete cycling infrastructure, an LRT system, and a revitalized transit service with electronic timetables in the bus shelters, as they're doing in Europe - and Portland.

Let's lower the voting age to 16. Let's establish urban farms and community gardens in every neighbourhood. Let's invite people to take care of their own boulevards, planting them with fruit trees or herb patches if they want to.

Let's establish urban containment boundaries and make absolutely sure we protect our farmland and greenspace before it is eaten away. Let's protect every Garry Oak tree and meadow and every "special place", before it's too late.

Let's create new urban villages, and strengthen our existing ones by allowing higher density and being more creative with pedestrian spaces, outdoor cafés and artwork.

Let's bring in direct elections for the Regional District, and debate regional issues properly, instead of shuffling them off to obscure committees of appointed councillors.

Let's turn Government Street into a festival of pedestrians and musicians every summer's night. Let's do the same for Chinatown, and Broad Street.

Let's call a moratorium on all major road repairs until a complete system of bicycling lanes is in place.

Let's create community economic development trusts, and give them full control of the local welfare and UI budgets.

Let's make it easy for many more small, affordable units to be built so that people on minimal incomes can buy their own places, co-operatively. The solution to homelessness is a home, not a handout.

Many of these things can happen, but you and your friends must first get out there and vote. Don't sit and home and mope, complaining about the world - get out there and vote, to change it !

- Guy Dauncey

Please note:  the Green Diary has moved, click here to view.


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Many thanks to Michael & Valerie Torontow, Roger Colwill, Shirley Brodeur, World Federalists (Victoria Branch), Peter Spurr, Robert Pettigrew, Denise Savoie, Miriam Thorn, Life Works, Sylvan Foreman, UVic Environmental Students Association, Joel Harvey, Maurice Tozer, Debra Barr, Sandra Beagley, Lois Marcoux & Erin McGregor. And thanks to Ian Barclay who preps the address labels, Kim Weaver who preps the envelopes, and everyone who helps stuff and fold at the mail-out parties.

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* My partner Sandy and I would like to explore the possibility of buying a large home collectively, with suites in it to share with other people with possible common areas. Call Don Ollsin, 592-7523 email

* 1 bedroom apartment for rent to quiet, environmentally responsible non-smoker, Gorge-Burnside area, close to Galloping Goose, in lovely house, quiet street. Sunny garden, washer, dryer, Shaw cable, $550/month all included. 361-9502.

* Bright, clean, furnished, 1 br suite in Gordon Head, January - March. Gas fire-place, washer/drier, $800pm, 477-1351

I support the CRD Parks Plan
Please vote YES

on Nov 20th.
Saanich Councillor & CRD Director
Sheila Orr


On November 20th, we get to vote for our municipal councillors and school board reps for the next 3 years. It may seem boring, but a progressive council can make a big difference towards creating a sustainable city and a healthy community. EcoNews has been asking around, and we've compiled a list of candidates who stand for socially and environmentally responsible policies. It is not an easy task, and for Victoria, we had to leave out some good candidates. If you only feel comfortable voting for 2 or 3 people, don't waste your votes on people you know nothing about.

Oak Bay. Nils Jensen and Joan Russow.
Victoria. For Mayor - Bob Friedland. For council - Lenora Burke, Chris Coleman, Dean Fortin, John Luton, Pam Madoff, Walter Meyer zu Erpen, Denise Savoie and Art Vanden Berg.
Saanich. For Mayor, Frank Leonard, plus Judy Brownoff, Gordon Christie, David Cubberley, Vic Derman, Jack Etkin, Sheila Orr and Carol Pickup.
Central Saanich. Christopher Graham, Allison Haddon and Robert Thompson.
North Saanich. Dee Bailin, Wally du Temple and Anny Scoones.
Sidney, View Royal, Esquimalt - sorry - no time to do the research.
The Highlands. For Mayor - Karel Roessingh. For council, Ken Faris, Marcie McLean, Dave McLellan, Sandy McPherson, Jane Mendum and Bill Vogel. This is a critical watershed election for the Highlands, following Bob McMinn's resignation over his heroic efforts to preserve the Gowlland Range as parkland. These candidates will work to preserve the Highlands as our region's greenbelt.
Colwood. For Mayor - Beth Gibson. For council - Jason Nault.
Langford. For council - Heather Ashton and Gordon Maxwell.
Metchosin. For Mayor - Bob Mitchell. For council - Chris Moehr, Lorne Rosenblood and Heidi Tonn.
Sooke. For Mayor - Edwin MacGregor. For council - Judith Burke (, William Dixon and Patricia Zogar.
Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. Diane Bernard. This is another highly important election, since Diane's opponent, Brian Henson, is backed by big developer money and resources, and will try to get the Silver Spray Ranch and other big development projects approved by the CRD if he gets elected.
Greater Victoria School District. Steven Bentheim, Charlotte Beresford, Bev Horsman, Carol James, Sandra Letts, Vic Lindal, Mark Walsh. Rosamund McLean, Lyse Burgess.
The Parks vote - please vote YES to the question about a $6 or $10 tax contribution for the CRD Parks Plan. Don't vote against $6 because you think it's not enough - it'll count as a "no" vote.


Whatever you think about the NDP government, we should be happy that we have finally got a Minister of the Environment (Joan Sawicki) who has her heart in the job, and wants to make a difference. These are her top priorities : (1) Restoring the cuts that were made to the Ministry under Glen Clark. An extra $5 million has been released for conservation officers, pollution prevention, habitat protection, fish and wildlife management and parks stewardship. It's not as much as was cut, but it's a start. (2) Completing the Protected Areas Strategy and land-use planning, surpassing the 12% protection target, and ensuring long-term stewardship of the provincial parks, with new protected areas legislation and a five-year parks business plan. (3) Pressing the federal government to bring in strong legislation to prohibit the export of bulk water. (4) The protection and recovery of endangered and threatened species and their habitats, by finding common ground at the federal/provincial level, and working with environmentalists and industry to identify the next steps. (5) Moving forward with the Green Economy Initiative, encouraging innovative environmental businesses and exploring tax-shifting, so that we tax pollution and waste instead of jobs. Joan is also interested in 'The Natural Step', the Swedish process which enables an organization or corporation to re-orient its processes to follow the laws of ecology and nature, instead of the bottom line thinking that has led us into such a mess. At the recent Premier's Economic Summit for the Island/Coast Region in Campbell River, one of the workshops decided that getting the BC government to embrace The Natural Step was the most important thing we should be doing. For details, call Joan's office, 387-1187.


So you think we should be doing more ? Just imagine - a Green Party governing in coalition with the NDP, with Adrienne Carr as new Green Party leader and Minister of the Environment. Don't dismiss the idea - it's precisely what happened in France, where the Green Party leader Dominique Voisnet is Minister of Environment. The reason why Europe leads the world with progressive environmental legislation is not because they are more green than we are, but that they have a system of proportional voting which allows minority parties such as the Greens to be included in meaningful voting, where 6% of the votes turns into 6% of the seats. At the recent Premier's Summit, I discovered that Gordon Wilson, Andrew Petter and Corky Evans all supported proportional representation (PR). Maybe we should have a drive to persuade the NDP to embrace PR before we are doomed to 15 years of eco-abusive, human-abusive Liberal rule. In this way, a vote for the Greens in the next provincial election would not be a wasted vote. In the municipal elections, of course, a vote for the Greens is never a wasted vote.

Your Green Party Candidates
for Victoria City Councillors
on 20th November, 1999

Lenora Burke
Walter Meyer zu Erpen
Art Vanden Berg

For information, or to help our
campaign, please phone


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Cheryl M. Borris writes : From Sept 17th - 25th, the Great BC Beach Clean Up inspired over 2,000 volunteers to pitch in and clean up our beaches throughout British Columbia. Here in the CRD, 1,200 volunteers collected 41,542 pieces of garbage from 105 kms of shoreline. 28,393 items were plastics, with foamed plastic-styrofoam packing and fast food containers leading the pack. The usual nasties were in the tally - condoms, tampon applicators, broken glass, fishing line & 6-pack holders. Volunteers also found a car seat, a plucked and stuffed turkey, several pairs of underwear, and five coconuts. (Now there's an idea - include them all in one short story ! - ed). Special thanks to Sierra Club, Veins of Life Watershed Society and Fisheries & Oceans Canada for making the clean up a success. Next year, we aim to sign-up more than 2,000 people. Call me at 356-6921


Sea-lions, swallows and banana slugs ! Rock crabs and raptors ! If you've enjoyed Briony Penn's weekly biological ramblings in Monday Magazine, you'll be delighted to know Horsdal & Schubart have just published her writings in a book called 'A Year on the Wild Side', which will probably be on many Christmas gift lists. Full of her original illustrations (see below) and humour, it will educate you in the most delightful way about the myriad other creatures who were here long before we were. Great for family fire-side reading. PS Briony is giving a talk/slide show at St Ann's Academy on Wed 10th. She's a very gifted (and amusing) speaker !


The butterflies and seed-gatherers can celebrate ! On the eve of the great Seattle show-down with the WTO, arch corporate villain Monsanto has been persuaded to climb down over its intention to develop the "terminator" gene, which would have used genetic engineering to render plants sterile, obliging farmers to buy new Monsanto GM seeds every year instead of saving their own. The change of heart came after Monsanto's Directors were addressed in private by Gordon Conway, President of the Rockerfeller Foundation, who tore a strip off them for their arrogance and secrecy, for alienating millions of Europeans, and for causing a meltdown of confidence in science and big business, and a backlash against US agriculture. Conway went straight for Monsanto's guts. For more than a hour, he lectured the board: change tack, or bring the wrath of the scientific, political, and global community down on you. "Admit that you do not have all the answers," he said. "Commit yourselves to prompt, full, and honest sharing of data." Later, an ashen-faced CEO Robert Shapiro appeared in public and agreed to cease work on the "terminator" technology. The other big GM companies, Zeneca, Novartis and Ciba Geigy have already patented their own terminator technologies, and it is to be hoped that they will follow suit. (Guardian Weekly).


Will the World Trade Organization (WTO) survive "The Protest of the Century", as its organizers are calling it ? The WTO was established in 1995, and in the last four years, it has written 700 pages of enforceable commercial code governing global markets and trade - "a powerful system of global governance". It is radically undemocratic, and acts as the voice of the world's largest corporations. On November 6th, the Victoria chapter of the Council of Canadians is showcasing "a different economy" based on the values of sustainability and community (see Diary). If you are planning to go to Seattle, call 1-877-STOP WTO, or visit or which has details about accommodation. Once in Seattle, you will be able to join direct action and street theatre training workshops, attend teach-ins, join the People's Assembly and March/Rally, join the March on the WTO (Tuesday 30th) and a host of other activities. In Victoria, activities are being coordinated by Council of Canadians, c/o Carol Brown, 381-1182.


The Municipal Elections

It is really important that we get progressive, green candidates elected on the Island, from Victoria to Cape Scott. The millennium is turning, and there's urgent work to be done ! So please, use the recommended voting list to talk to your friends and neighbours, and encourage them to vote green (and to vote YES to the CRD Parks Plan.) A technique I learnt about recently is called "Take 5 to Tell 5" - take 25 minutes out of your time to talk to 5 people for 5' each, encouraging them to vote for the candidates that you believe will be the best. And PS, your favorite candidates will all need help over the next two weeks, in a host of ways. Good luck !

Check out the Victoria Green Pages !

Deadline for December: November 24th

The Green Diary has moved!  Click HERE to see whats happening!



EcoNews provides this electronic version of the newsletter free of charge even though it costs time and money to produce. Please feel free to repost. You can help by making a donation, whether $5 or $100, to:

EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1, Canada. Thanks !

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Click here for previous issues of EcoNews.

EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Sustainable Communities Consultancy

Author of 'After the Crash : The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy'
(Greenprint, London, 1988. 3rd edition 1997)

'Earthfuture : Stories from a Sustainable World'
(New Society Publishers, November 1999)
An ecofictional novel

EcoNews is printed on Tree-Free paper from Ecosource

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