According to an Insights West poll conducted recently, a majority of Richmond residents questioned said that housing was their number-one issue right now. RITE Richmond is taking the lead on affordable housing and development and city council candidates Carol Day and Michael Wolfe will push for action on this.
Under our leadership, new developments will go through an improved civic engagement process. We will ensure a fair process for local citizens to accept any changes (i.e. scale and pace) that will affect their neighbourhoods. The Day-Wolfe team will:
Purpose: Engage English language learners and teachers to work with businesses to translate signage. Work with S.U.C.C.E.S.S and other local settlement agencies to bridge the gap and educate the self segregated businesses to think outside their comfort zone and encourage them to welcome English speaking customers.
Action: Create a task force of people fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese to visit businesses that display no English signs and have that person work with the business to understand the lost business opportunity.
The task force would have the following deliverables:
The team would explain how welcoming customers rather than excluding them makes smart business sense and that the alternative is to exclude and potentially insult people.
Give examples of other businesses that have made minor changes and seen their sales grow. Encourage the successful owners who have benefited from making changes to help educate the new businesses coming into the program.
This program could be a great start in bridging the gap between eastern and western cultures and could be a model that other communities would follow.
Richmond has grown to be a very large city, and the quality of life in the neighbourhoods has been negatively affected. People who have lived in Richmond for decades remember a time when people knew their neighbours and communicated with them. The heart of the neighbourhood was usually the local school. It was not uncommon for neighbours to be helping each other, and getting to know each other was commonplace.
RITE Richmond wants to revive that community spirit, and build on the success we already have in some of the more connected neighbourhoods. We plan to accomplish this by getting back to basics, and it all starts with communication. So how do we learn from the success some neighbourhood have and enhance all our neighbourhoods?
Here is our 22 step plan.
# 1 Identify the unique character of each area with a logo and unique signage
# 2 Name the area with a name commonly used or with one of historic significance
# 3 Construct a message centre conveniently located within the closest community centre or other requested place of interest.
# 4 Invite neighbours to post messages such as items for sale, services available such as baby sitting, lawn mowing etc. on the message board
# 5 Post all development permit applications at the message centre, and invite people to join the conversation on social media
# 6 Start a Facebook page or other Social media venue, made in, and owned by the community, to start people chatting and sharing about their area
# 7 Have police post on the message centre crimes in the area and encourage people to post for their neighbours any suspicious activity the may have witnessed
# 8 Start a community day in each area that is specially suited for the demographics and interests of the area
# 9 Involve community groups such as committees, sports groups, cub scouts, brownies. etc
# 10 Ask Neighbourhood Watch and Emergency Preparedness to help organize informational days to increase their program and involve residents
# 11 Request ICBC to post high traffic accident areas, and areas of high rates of vehicle thefts and vandalism
# 12 Reward involvement with awards and other recognition
# 13 Support local businesses by offering advertising space and asking for donations for various events
# 14 Collaborate with the Richmond School District staff to form partnerships for inter-generational learning at events with students and seniors in the community
# 15 Use opportunities like the Terry Fox run, Breast Cancer awareness and other charitable functions to create friendly competition between the various neighbourhoods to support great causes. Foster a sense of community pride
# 16 Arrange a garden tour to allow people to see what some residents have created in their private spaces and encourage others to join a movement for beautification in their area
# 17 Create localized maps that tell the story of the neighbourhood with points of interest and history of the area
# 18 Install park benches and mini gardens that can be used for gathering places, and allow for opportunities for community gardens
# 19 Create buttons, t-shirts and hats etc. that identify each neighbourhood and sell these as a fund raiser to support programs
# 20 Evening dog walking could encourage a healthy lifestyle and improve security. The city could provide flashlights and other identification for walkers
# 21 Encourage programs, such as asking people to say, “hello”, to 5 people each day
# 22 Hold occasional garage sales to allow people to drop off unwanted goods and pick up those items they need
Cost: Minimal, each neighbourhood message centre could be built by volunteers, materials could be donated by local businesses and City Staff or residents could create designs.
Timeline : The first steps should happen as soon as possible to create a message centre that will be operational by next summer.
Summary: The RITE Richmond team is committed to building better neighbourhoods and our Neighbourhood Enhancement Plan was created with simple, affordable and concrete plans to start the process. As the neighbourhoods work through the process, new ideas will flourish and the plan will grow and evolve as necessary and in the way that best suits each neighbourhood. Change can be a good thing, and RITE Richmond wants to work towards a better Richmond with a community spirit we can all be proud of.
The Day * Wolfe Team is committed to making responsible spending at the City of Richmond a top priority. Our concern is that Richmond does not have a revenue problem, but rather a spending problem.
The Corporate Administration takes 3.5% of our tax dollars, and with 104.2 million going to salaries, such as $ 284,701 to our CEO, we need to proceed with due diligence to ensure we are getting value for our tax dollars. In 2012, the City had 478 employees earning over $75,000. This requires a thorough audit in 2015.
The Day * Wolfe Team will ask for
* Audits of each department, with public access to results
* Creation of incentive plans for employees who bring cost saving ideas forward. For example, the best cost saving or public benefit idea of the year could result in extra vacation time
* Acknowledgment of departments that work with in existing budgets
* Review of duplication of services
* Asset sharing between departments for cost savings
Richmond City Council
The total cost for Richmond City Council salaries, benefits and expenses was $ 617,508.87 in 2013. The council received a 72 percent increase in salary in 7 years, the mayor a 46 percent increase in 6 years. The Day * Wolfe team will work for accountability:
* A study to research how these costs compare to other cities
* A system-wide process review, to find cost saving measures in all areas of council expenses
* Salary caps for council
* Requirement that each councilor report on their work with the committees and groups they represent
The Day * Wolfe Team believes that through fiscal responsibility , cost savings can be found and these cost savings could lead to tax savings.
The Council should be accountable to the taxpayer for their professional services, and the public should have access to information that demonstrates if each individual councilor is providing acceptable levels of service.
The Day Wolfe Team will work for 100% transparency and ensure that tax payers get their money’s worth from City hall.
We will work to ensure that Richmond’s Agricultural Land Reserve Farm land (ALR) is respectfully used for farming, by linking farmers with landowners. Our action plan includes a mentorship program, as well as interactive tools on the city’s website that facilitate cooperation. We will create incentives that encourage farming on ALR land, so that land owners and speculators will be motivated to help create a self -sufficient Richmond for the production of our food, long term.
The city will educate all new potential ALR property owners as to the Agricultural Land Commission and what the ALR status means in terms of future potential as an investment. Information will be provided to inform all interested parties as to the limits and opportunities available on ALR Land.
We will foster a partnership with the Richmond School District and Kwantlen Polytechnic University to harness the potential of our young people, and offer them farming opportunities, whether or not they have a farming background. We will initiate a public engagement series on the history and future vision of our farm land.
At the centre of all this, we will restore the legacies of the Garden City Lands, which have deteriorated for years, partly because the city treated the ALR status as an obstacle when in fact it is an opportunity. Working with the city and community groups, together we can create a well-planned oasis in the city centre.
The back lands on the highway to heaven No. 5 road corridor could be bundled together, and an Agricultural green could be offered to farmers and people wanting community gardens.
We will engage the entire community and celebrate our agricultural history on the Garden City Lands and throughout Richmond.
The world will come to see our unique utilization of farmland in cooperation with our vibrant city.
We will work to control election spending and ensure that the voter is treated fairly and ethically. We will lobby the City of Richmond and the Province of British Columbia to cap election spending, with the intention of creating a level playing field for all candidates. We will visit the issue of term limits for Trustees and Councilors and see if the public supports term limits, in order to welcome new candidates into the political arena.
The Day * Wolfe Team will direct staff to:
*Compile data of election spending
*Report to council what options are available to the City
*Lobby the provincial government to cap election spending at a lower rate
*Require all parties to declare contributions from supporters during election
*Require lobby groups to declare publicly their donations and to whom.
*Report to the public their findings before the 2018 election
*Draft policies that allow for financial transparency and full financial disclosure
*Conduct research into term limits , their benefits and costs
The Day * Wolfe team will work to improve the current system and provide to the public all information available, before elections.
We recognize that Richmond businesses benefit the health and wellness of citizens by offering products and services. Through public feedback we can create lists of the most pressing needs and fast track the approval process for businesses that will fill those gaps in quality of life and preventative health. Services provided by doctors, dentists, therapists, senior care staff, daycare providers, and many other specialized and skilled workers are in short supply and addressing this shortage will make Richmond an even healthier place to live. Other types businesses will also be welcomed to Richmond and encouraged to stay in Richmond by protecting industrial and commercial zoned properties from development into residential wherever feasible. RITE Richmond will support businesses in Richmond, because it’s the smart thing to do.