B.C. Transit’s No. 2 bus stops in Oak Bay Village in front of Oak Bay municipal hall. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Oak Bay council says no to youth bus pass trial

Oak Bay passes four of five climate-related motions

Oak Bay will not run a four-month free bus pass trial for youths in 2021.

Providing free bus passes to youth was the only recommendation of five that Oak Bay’s Community Climate Action Working Group made to council that was not approved.

Coun. Andrew Appleton chaired the Community Climate Action Working Group that was assembled hastily in 2019 in response to Oak Bay’s declaration that the municipality is in a climate emergency. The working group – which is made up of the same members from the Advisory Planning Commission – took public feedback and was tasked with boiling it down to five distinct recommendations ahead of the 2020 budget.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay establish new climate working group

However, Appleton could not get a seconder for his motion on Monday night to consider the working group’s fifth recommendation, which seeks to double transit ridership in the next five years. It was centred on a four-month free youth bus pass trial.

Council stated several reasons for declining on the motion, one of them that the province is looking at free transit for youth under 12.

“It just didn’t seem timely to encourage youth transit use in the middle of a pandemic. I hope we can revisit ways to incentivize mode shift in the new year,” said Coun. Tara Ney who also said there wasn’t enough evidence that youth would use them.

Coun. Eric Zhelka suggested he could consider supporting it, if it was delayed a year. Coun. Hazel Braithwaite said it was too cost prohibitive at this time, said when the full municipal revenue impacts of the pandemic are yet to be determined

Mayor Kevin Murdoch noted the base cost of providing a 100 per cent subsidy of transit for youth in Oak Bay would be about $250,000, or more than a one per cent tax increase.

“…With all of the other things we have to focus on it would be difficult to divert that amount of money to this program (ie., and take it away from something like infrastructure),” Braithwaite said.

Three recommendations have already been adopted and are underway. No. 1 is that the engineering department produce a feasibility study to develop and complete an active transportation network by the end of 2025. That report is expected sometime in the new year. No. 2 is to make the Coolkit program available to residents, which is a detailed guide on planting trees and shrubs. No. 3 is to create an annual funding program of grants to community groups that undertake direct climate action activities within Oak Bay. It would also provide rebates for actions that reduce GHG emissions including, for example, heating systems, electric garden equipment, and e-bikes.

Recommendation No. 4, which did get approval on Monday night, is to “create two separate programs and associated policies to accelerate GHG and energy reductions for the retrofit and adaptation of existing buildings, and for new building construction.”

It’s a win for Oak Bay to have four motions in place, Appleton said.

READ ALSO: Interest swirls in Oak Bay to ban gas-powered leaf blowers

But it’s also left Appleton disappointed that option No. 5, doubling transit usage in the next five years, fell to the floor without a seconder so that there wasn’t even a discussion on the bus pass trial, let alone a vote.

“In a time of COVID, am I disappointed that we haven’t made more substantive progress? Yes, I’m disappointed we aren’t further ahead, but there’s a lot of significant factors for that. COVID-19 being the major factor,” Appleton said. “It has really delayed what staff can do. They’ve worked their little butts off, handling the emergency centre, and what they have had to since COVID-19 restrictions.”

Appleton and Ney both agree that the coming staff report for active transportation will be exciting and also likely to be controversial, as it will broach the topic of prioritizing road usage away from cars.

It is expected in the first quarter of next year and should outline what will be required in terms of resources, namely costs and timelines.

“The important thing is we have got the budget line item for active transportation already, and now we are coming back with suggestions on what potential short-term actions will be, where we can begin,” Appleton said.

Ney was also active recently in getting her motion passed on Nov. 9 that staff prepare a report exploring the municipal ban of leaf blowers that are powered specifically by two-stroke, gas-powered engines. Another report will explore how the municipality can have its own crews move away from gas-powered landscape equipment by 2024.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Just Posted

Hot rods, rad rods, muscle and sports cars spanning the decades made their way in a parade from North Saanich to Victoria on June 19. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Classic cars cruise Saanich Peninsula in advance of Father’s Day

Retirement home residents from North Saanich to Victoria treated to a spectacle of hot rides

A bathtub kitchen garden is part of the lineup for this year’s Teeny Tiny Garden Tour to benefit Victoria Hospice. (Screenshot/Teeny Tiny Garden Tour)
Virtual garden tour for Victoria Hospice features trio of back yards

Online tour is free; calendar purchase and donation options raise money for the cause

Al Kohut, owner of the new photographers GALLERY, checks out Looking Back by David Bradt. The photo printed on canvas is among 50 images featured in the Birds on the Wild Side exhibition showing until July 3. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Photo gallery in Sidney plucks out top bird photos

Birds on the Wild Side show running at the new photographers GALLERY until July 3

The Town of Sidney supports efforts to rename Reay Creek to KELSET, its traditional SENCOTEN name. (Black Press Media file photo)
Town of Sidney signs off on Reay Creek name change to KELSET

Name change does not affect surrounding parkland, but public supports doing so

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read