Mayors offer local priorities for the new B.C. government

Victoria, Esquimalt have specific ‘asks’ for Horgan, NDP

As the NDP government led by John Horgan and supported by Andrew Weaver and the BC Green Party prepares to assume power in B.C., local mayors are keeping their eyes on what happens in the coming months.

With both MLAs serving Victoria and Esquimalt likely to be named to Horgan’s first cabinet – Carole James in Victoria-Beacon Hill and Rob Fleming in Victoria-Swan Lake – the two communities may have more of an ear with the province over the next four years.

Even before the May election, the City collaborated with the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Victoria, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Downtown Victoria Business Association on a position paper that presented a unified voice on shared priorities.

Increasing affordable housing, improving mental health and addictions services, creating a regional transportation commission and finishing off the Belleville Terminal improvements were on the list, along with specific solutions.

“Whatever the province can do to stimulate more workplace housing is critical to the economy of the city,” said Mayor Lisa Helps, noting that people need affordable places to rent to be able to come to Victoria to work.

She added better availability, quality and affordability of child care into the mix.

“Child care is a primary concern. Between 2011 and 2016 [the census tells us that] there were a lot of babies born.”

Parents need to be able to re-enter the workforce without fear of falling behind the financial eight-ball due to daycare costs, she added. “These are all quality of life issues for our residents.”

In Esquimalt, Mayor Barb Desjardins said the focus is on getting the E&N rail bed up and running as a commuting corridor. In March, B.C. Liberal Transportation Minister Todd Stone launched a working group to look at options for the 15-kilometre stretch of track and was expected to report back following the election.

Desjardins intends to hold the new government’s feet to the fire with promises to get the line running.

“We’ve got to get something happening between the West Shore and downtown,” she said.

“Esquimalt is smack in the middle of it and we get clogged up with traffic. That, for me, is the top priority of any government.”

From a regional perspective, Desjardins hopes Horgan’s NDP will move the Capital Region towards an integrated resource management solution and help find ways to turn solid, liquid and biosolid waste into energy. The province needs to look at regulations and make changes to current policies, she added.

“The waste right now, all we do is try and hide it and throw it away. We’re doing all the recycling we can, but the reality is there will always be waste,” she said. “If you can turn it into energy, you lengthen the time frame for Hartland Landfill, you improve the environment, you provide a benefit back to the community.”

Just Posted

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

Council is asking the province for the authority to invoke a vacancy tax

Backyardigans, Max & Ruby stage shows add to Family Day in Sidney

Bodine Hall shows make room for kids to sing, dance, enjoy Family Day weekend

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says municipality will re-group after Rowing Canada decision

Haynes said he is “quite disappointed” but also respects choice of North Cowichan as national centre

CRD committee proposes ending livestock payouts to farmers

The bylaw has existed since the creation of the CRD’s animal control service in 1979

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

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

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Most Read