Monday, October 22, 2018

Madoff worries about future for Victoria heritage buildings; she lost seat after 25 years


Victoria Coun. Pamela Madoff, long known as the city’s heritage advocate, has lost her seat after 25 years on council.

View Royal Mayor David Screech is disappointed that Madoff was not re-elected and praised her dedication to heritage.

“In the years to come I think we will all realize the huge debt of gratitude we owe Pamela for her work in protecting and improving Victoria in so many ways.”

Screech, who owns Gregg’s Furniture in Victoria, said Sunday that he has known Madoff for 45 years, since she was a student and rented space in the family house.

Madoff’s influence has been substantial, he said.

“Pam has dedicated herself to preserving the character and heritage of Victoria, especially in the Old Town. She and her late husband, Mark Madoff, led the way in protecting heritage through their work with the Hallmark Society,” he said.

Madoff was instrumental in getting rules and regulations in place to protect that part of downtown, he said. Old Town is filled with unique heritage buildings, it houses many locally owned businesses, and is a major tourist attraction.

Esquimalt Coun. Lynda Hundleby wrote on Facebook that Madoff “will be missed not only at Victoria Council but in the region.”

Heritage consultant Stuart Stark said, “I think Pam’s vision for the city is going to be missed dramatically.”

Madoff was a staunch supporter of neighbourhood, community and zoning plans, which had been developed with communities, he said.

Her influence extended to protection of green spaces and parks, she worked with neighbourhood groups, and appreciated that small older apartment buildings and houses helped provide affordable housing, he said.

Madoff was not against development, but wanted to ensure that it contributed to the city-scapes and street-scapes, Stark said.

Madoff placed 10th in the vote for eight councillors, receiving 9,067 votes.

The late Sam Bawlf was an early leader, advocate and expert on heritage at Victoria council, Madoff said.

He was later followed by Martin Segger, an associate fellow at UVic’s centre for global studies, who has served as the university’s director of art galleries and collections.

Segger, a former Victoria councillor and a supporter of heritage, suggested she run for council, Madoff said.


She turned down the first opportunity but in 1993, she joined the former NDP-affiliated Victoria Civic Electors. “It was easier to say, ‘yes’ than ‘no.’ I didn’t think I’d get elected.” She did and served in an unbroken stretch since then.

Madoff’s experience included writing and lecturing on architectural history, preservation and urban planning. She is a past-president of the Hallmark Society.

She participated in a provincial community pride project which saw her travelling through B.C. staging workshops on heritage preservation and the economic benefits of heritage rehabilitation.

As a council member, she sat on the Victoria Accord committees, which developed long-term strategies for the future of the Legislative Precinct and the Humboldt Valley.

Madoff is not sure who will carry the heritage banner forward.

Citizens had a “direct conduit with me and knowing what my role was. They are very concerned about what is going to happen,” she said.

“Of all the candidates who were running, nobody talked about heritage or architecture or how a city looks and feels, as well as how it functions. That’s what everybody is writing to say to me.”

Losing is not a pleasant personal experience, but Madoff said her main concern is “more what it means for the city.”

“I bet you there are some happy developers that I’m not on council, when it comes to heritage.”

Victoria is a world-class city, she said. “Is that going to be maintained or is it going to be continually eroded?”

Madoff is worried about a trend towards facadism, which refers to saving only the facade (exterior) of a building and rebuilding its interior and possibly creating a considerably larger overall structure.

“The main thing I hear from people I know is that, ‘Victoria is looking like everywhere else. It used to be so special.’ ”

Madoff said the city can continue to grow but with a “made-in-Victoria solution” rather than mimicking something seen elsewhere.

Sooke Coun. Rick Kasper, another long-serving municipal politician, was also defeated. He pulled in 1,358 votes to place eighth in a battle for six seats. The retired bricklayer and stone mason was elected to Sooke council in 2005, 2011 and 2014. Before that he was an NDP MLA for a decade, representing Malahat-Juan de Fuca.

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