After over two years and multiple letters sent, a reply from the Minister of Transportation (MoT) addressed to View Royal Mayor David Screech stated there are no plans to change the composition of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission (VRTC) or to tweak the BC Transit Act.
“At this time…adjustments to the composition of the VRTC and subsequent changes to the BC Transit Act are not being considered,” Minister Claire Trevena wrote in a signed letter received by council Tuesday.
Screech previously said he’s “frustrated” that View Royal has never had a seat in the transit board that has the power to set regional routes and tax rates.
Section 15 of the BC Transit Act states that, of the seven members of the commission, one appointment must be either the mayor of Sidney, North Saanich or Central Saanich.
Another appointment can be one of five West Shore mayors (Colwood, Metchosin, View Royal, Langford and Highlands), the mayor of Sooke or the “electoral area director of the Juan de Fuca electoral area.”
The Mayor of Sooke and Colwood have held the position for several years and swapped seats during various years.
Mayor Ryan Windsor of Central Saanich said adjustments to the makeup of the VRTC are now overdue. Central Saanich’s mayor held a seat in the commission between 2008-2011 and Sidney’s from 2011-2014. By contrast, the Mayor of North Saanich has been appointed to the seat from 2014-2019.
While he said he had confidence in the Mayor of North Saanich, “Our understanding is that it rotated…for some reason they changed that, and there was no explanation,” he added.
An email addressed from the Ministry addressed to Black Press previously stated that members are not appointed “on a rotational basis.”
Windsor said he’d like to see route adjustments on transit routes for his jurisdiction gain traction with the provincial government, such as having bus service to ferries and the airport as well as to Keating Cross Road as well as to First Nations communities, which aren’t represented by the VRTC or serviced by BC Transit.
Screech similarly stated he’d like to have tabled plans for more regular service for View Royal.
Windsor said he’s puzzled by the lack of clarity on the grounds for appointment and questioned why certain members seem to keep being reelected. “If they’re saying that’s a coincidence that’s very interesting,” he said.
“The legislation says members will be picked from one of the three mayors, so what’s the criteria,” he asked, adding “it could help us meet the criteria.”
“If the government is interested in openness and transparency… it’s not very transparent.”
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure couldn’t immediately provide a spokesperson for this story.