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What is Victoria saying?

The City of Victoria is trying to gauge public attitudes as part of its efforts to come up with a renewed Official Community Plan (OCP). There’s a website dedicated just to this endeavor, Shape Your Future Victoria. There are surveys to fill out, questionnaires to answer, …and opportunities to be a jackass on camera.

I won’t be filling out a single survey anymore. I’m done with Victoria.

It finally came home for me just how royally and Victorially we are screwed when I bothered to watch one of the videos on the city’s site. It’s on the right sidebar, introduced as follows:

We Asked Victorians

Posted February 05, 2010

We walked the streets of Victoria one fine February day and asked random Victorians what they loved about Victoria and what they’d like to see improved. Listen to their thoughts. We’d like to hear yours.

The first speaker, a middle-aged woman, responds with “I love everything about Victoria, I love the weather, I love the beauty of the city…”

The second part of the nearly 2-minute video poses the question, “What does your Victoria look like in 30 years?”

The same woman answers, “First of all, stop anyone else from moving here because it’s big enough…”


Let me repeat that:

“First of all, stop anyone else from moving here because it’s big enough…”


I get it now.

Could I just say that keeping people out is at best a Plan B? It’s not and never will be a Plan A.

The respondent’s attitude is what I have repeatedly called “the Island DNA,” that vicious kudzu of the soul, a sort of entitlement (“I’ve got mine and I’m alright, Jack”): I moved here, but now that I’m here, don’t let anybody else come here! Pull up the drawbridge!

It starts with an island mind-set: no bridge to the mainland of course, no connections to “outside,” no one else allowed in our little paradise.

And it perfectly sums up why Victoria will never be a happening place. It is an island, and that island mentality of keeping the outsiders out is exactly what retards development here, including and especially good development.

There are a few other voices that make more sense on this video, but the “stop anyone else from moving here” sentiment informs far too many people here.

Let me just close with this: I have never, ever lived anywhere else where keeping people out was turned into a virtue. Not in Vancouver, not in Montreal, not in Munich, not in Berlin, not even in Boston. But in Victoria, Plan B, a.k.a. keeping people out (excepting the tourists in tourist season, for fleecing purposes), is the Official Community Plan.


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