New council must make leadership a greater priority

Letter to the editor on new Saanich council's priorities

In order to best serve the Saanich community, the new council needs to actively lead by focusing on the real issues that will impact the region in the short and long term. An attitude of leadership through priorities is required to ensure our unique Saanich neighbourhoods thrive under this primarily re-elected council.

The council needs to take on an expanded leadership role regarding the integration of services, looking at regional cost-saving options, not amalgamation.

Small business owners in Saanich are feeling the crushing weight of an economy in flux. The current council needs to manage the expectations of our community; every disbursement analyzed to ensure it’s right for the circumstances.

Adopting a needs versus wants mindset will ensure every dollar allocated by the council benefits our community directly.

Optional and luxury projects should be shelved until the taxpayers can afford the extra burden of these expenditures, and increased effort is required to compel the provincial and federal governments to deliver over and above the paltry eight cents per tax dollar back to the municipality.

Saanich council must do a better job of securing funds for infrastructure, affordable housing, and providing viable options to help our homeless community.

Saanich and the CRD have been mandated to treat our raw sewage, currently being pumped into the Georgia Strait, but the existing plan is unacceptable. An Esquimalt-based treatment, with solids trucked down the country lanes of Saanich to the landfill, is appalling.

This is a legacy project with lasting implications for our region and taxpayers, but if this project is to proceed the funding verbally promised by senior levels of government must be secured. Council may not be able to stop this decision from taking place, but they should be doing everything possible to ensure Saanich residents are not unfairly burdened with the proposed costs.

Another mega-project that needs the full attention of the Saanich council is the proposed light-rail transit initiative.

It is irresponsible that so much time and energy is being invested into LRT when our current transit system is falling short. Full buses regularly pass UVic and Camosun students, and the proposed LRT option treats students and drivers like second-class citizens, forcing them to endure unreasonable waits as they attempt to cross at McKenzie and the Trans-Canada Highway.  The paperwork alone required for the current plan is estimated to be over $8 million, and this is purely unacceptable for the Saanich taxpayers.

The LRT will not address the east-west connections, but additional bus service and an overpass at McKenzie/Trans-Canada Highway would better serve the entire Victoria community at a substantially lower cost. Saanich council needs to actively lead this discussion to ensure the social benefit of a shiny new LRT system isn’t the deciding factor.

Keeping up with Calgary, Vancouver, or Portland, Ore. is not a good enough reason to spend a billion dollars that we do not have. Too little return on too much of an investment is deplorable, and the current council will need to provide an acceptable alternative to ensure local businesses aren’t taxed to death.

Saanich council would be well served to actively seek public engagement and support for all initiatives over the next three years. A municipal election with a turnout of only 25 per cent of eligible voters is not conducive to proper representation of the people council is here to serve. An engaged community is the key to making informed decisions, and should be a priority for the current council members.

Leaders need to make the tough decisions and do what’s right for their followers, and while this isn’t always a fun position to be in, it is a necessity to help the Saanich community thrive and prosper. We need to see more focus on the topics that all of Saanich needs and less focus on the wants – the “nice to have” projects – that don’t provide long term benefit to our community.

Jesse McClinton is a Saanich resident who ran unsuccessfully for Saanich council in the November municipal election.

Just Posted

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Most Read