The region’s transportation priorities are no secret according to Langford Mayor Stew Young. (File photo)

Regional transportation authority has mayors at odds

Langford will ‘go down fighting’ counter petition

Capital Regional District staff, in a move supported by View Royal Mayor David Screech and Sidney Mayor Steve Price, have recommended the CRD move to counter petition for approval to create a new $2.5 million regional transportation authority.

A move Langford Mayor Stew Young said is an under-handed way of taking money from Langford taxpayers to “pay for useless and unneeded studies.”

“You want to know what the transportation priorities are? You don’t have to go out and hire a consultant. Try stepping out of your office and actually talking to the people who are using the roads and highways. They already know what the priorities should be and are looking for government to do something about them. What they don’t need is another useless level of bureaucracy doing what others are already doing,” Young said.

According to Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell, the original iteration of the proposal was to spend $10 million on the service and, when some of the municipalities balked at what she said was an exorbitant price tag, staff came back with the $2.5 million plan.

“And when we made it clear we wouldn’t support the transportation authority, even at $2.5 million, they left it at third reading at the CRD but indicated that they are planning to go to an alternative approval process [counter petition] to push this through. It would mean that we’d have to come up with 33,000 signatures to prevent them from taking our money and using it for something we don’t want and know isn’t needed,” Blackwell said. “The game is rigged.”

Screech, a proponent of the transportation authority, takes issue with Langford council’s position.

“I guess they didn’t get the memo that there’s no increase in the money [we’d be taking from Langford]. This is a zero dollar increase,” said Screech, maintaining that the money is simply a reallocation of existing funds already within the system.

When asked if more funds could be needed in the future, Screech said “every service has financial ramifications as time goes on, but if we don’t do something just because it may cost more later on, we’d never do anything.”

He added, “as far as I can see, the regional transportation planning is non-existent and we have no cohesive voice to speak to the province or other municipalities. In the long run it’s the residents who are getting shafted.”

It’s a position Young disagrees with.

“The last place I want to put my taxpayer’s money is the CRD – especially for transportation planning. The province is already studying this and have thousands of people who know what they’re doing. The CRD is out of its league, and honestly, look at how effective they were on planning the sewage project and tell me this is something we should trust them to take on,” Young said.

“I had a meeting with Price and some of the others when this idea was first floated and they had no idea of the specifics of what they’re looking for. Before I spend that kind of money in Langford, I want to know what I’m buying.”

Young noted there are transportation specialists already studying the Capital Region’s challenges within the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, B.C. Transit, at the federal level, and within each municipality. He maintained that adding a fifth level of bureaucracy to the mix would do noting but muddy the waters.

“I can tell you that the top three transportation issues for tax payers in Langford are the highway out to the West Shore, the highway out to Sooke, and what to do with the E&N Rail corridor. And I don’t need to be spending $2.5 million to find that out. I just talk to people,” Young said.

The move to go to counter petition is on hold for the moment, but Blackwell fears it will eventually be forced through.

“In the end, we may not be able to stop it … but we’ll go down fighting,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

UVic makes push for Indigenous medical students

For more than 15 years James Andrew has been the Indigenous student… Continue reading

UPDATE: Serious crash sends two to hospital, closes Cook Street in both directions

Police have taped off intersection as investigation continues

Regina Park tent city residents win first round of legal battle

Injunction adjourned for Saanich’s tent city

School of magic teaches youth to be themselves

Organizers hope to run the camp next summer as well

E&N Rail Trail open house this Wednesday

Construction on segment between Atkins Avenue and Savory Elementary to start this fall

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Smokey skies across Vancouver Island expected to last until Wednesday

The province of B.C. has issued a special bulletin for all of Vancouver Island

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Most Read