Well, tomorrow is election day! That means today is the very last #familyfriday!
Let me introduce you to some familiar faces… my family!
Meet Evie – she’s four, loves the colour purple (my campaign signs are a huge hit), and wants to be a flamingo for Halloween. She is big sister to Asher. Asher is two, eats more olives than the average adult, loves his baby doll, and while he’s a little dude of few words, he has a mean dinosaur roar and thinks first bumps are sign language for I love you.
And then there’s Rob! Rob, like so many in this city, works for the provincial government. You’ll catch him riding his Onewheel from our Fernwood home to his downtown office. For the last five months, if you saw him looking too-cool-for-school en route to work, he was probably also offering you a flyer, sign, and a pitch for the importance of municipal elections. He’s loved this campaign, but I’m still 90% sure he’d rather be fishing out of Sooke, kite surfing at Dallas Road, or surfing at Jordan River.
What story does our family have to tell about this city we love? Two and a half years ago we moved back to Victoria with a 2-year-old and a teeny tiny 5 week old just a few weeks after I finished my Ph.D. at UBC. We moved into a short-term, three month Air BnB rental because, despite our efforts, we did not receive one single return call or email for a long-term rental home for our family.
Unfortunately, this housing became unsafe and we were forced to leave immediately. Lucky for us, we have family in town. I think about this event often. If we didn’t have somewhere to go, we may have been forced to stay in an unsafe home with two very small children.
What about buying instead of renting? Well, we tried that too. We looked at a number of two bedroom condos, thinking that, in the right neighbourhood, we could make that work for a few years. Sharing bedrooms and sharing neighbourhoods – parks, coffee, shops, walkable communities! We put offers on 3 places. We were hugely outbid at every turn.
Okay, so renting it is!
We now have secure housing… but only because our friends bought a house with an in-law suite. Our suite was previously occupied by one senior and is now home to four of us. We bathe our kids in large Rubbermaid bins because our bathroom is far too small for a bathtub, and we have two closets in the whole place. But, for now, this place is actually heaven. We have built in best-friends and our chosen family upstairs, we share a small lawn in the back, and we can walk to work and daycare.. and coffee, always walking to the coffee (I’m looking at you Little June ❤️)
The four of us are in good shape and are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by our family – by birth and by choice – so this election is not about us. It’s about building a city where luck doesn’t determine who can stay and who can go. Where our neighbourhoods are for sharing and where we build more diversified housing options for the folks who live, work, and play here. Where affordable housing is available for singles, seniors, couples, and families and where the city does our part to make sure there is safe, reliable, and quality childcare for those who need it.
Tomorrow is Election Day. Thank you all for joining me on this journey. Thank you for your support and donations, for feeding my family and watching (and loving) my kiddos, for sharing your expertise and skills, your vision and hopes for the city, and your energy! This campaign has been fuelled by young families and working students… neither of which are known for their quantities of spare energy and free time. But man do they have a lot of love for this city and want to make sure there is space in Victoria for everyone.