Province overrules View Royal; plans to build handyDART facility

Province overrules View Royal; plans to build handyDART facility

View Royal Mayor calls province’s actions “heavy handed” and “unusual”

Despite objections from residents and council, the provincial government is moving forward with plans to build a handyDART facility in View Royal.

HandyDART is an accessible, door-to-door shared transit service for people with permanent or temporary disabilities that prevent them from using fixed-use transit without assistance from another person, according to BC Transit.

The regional facility, which will be at 2401 Burnside Rd. W. near Craigflower Creek, was rejected by View Royal in June 2018 after the town heard several concerns about environmental impacts, noise, parking and air quality to name a few. The BC Transit proposal would have required a rezoning of the land and but the rezoning was withdrawn by council.

In a June letter, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena notified council that the property on Burnside Road was being designated as an arterial highway, allowing the government to bypass View Royal bylaws to build the facility.

READ ALSO: View Royal turns down regional handyDART proposal

It was a move that “strong-armed” View Royal, according to Mayor David Screech.

“Land use is the purview of local governments and it’s extremely unusual for the province to overrule local governments on the matter of land,” Screech said. “I think it’s an extremely heavy-handed maneuver…I don’t think the government realizes the gravity of this move and the precedent it’s setting.”

While the issue has been addressed in-camera in previous meetings, Screech said it is being taken public at the Sept. 17 council meeting “so residents can comment and know what happens.”

As far as residents were concerned, this was an issue that was put to bed last year, Screech said. Now staff are recommending the Town of View Royal meet with BC Transit to come to an agreement for the purpose of moving forward with the handyDart project, despite the current Parks and Recreation designated land use for the property.

Screech said he anticipates council will write a letter to Trevena with a list of expectations and requirements as they move forward with the project. The Town has already received e-mails and letters from residents upset plans for the facility are moving ahead.

“My comment to the province is to approach this differently,” Screech said. “How can we go about this in a way that we can make it right for View Royal?”

A written statement from Trevena said BC Transit is working with View Royal on the facility, which rests on land that has been owned by the B.C. government since the 1990s.

When the facility is built, the existing one on Glanford Avenue will be moved to the new location so the old one can become another transit centre for BC Transit’s conventional fleet.

READ ALSO: HandyDART proposal in View Royal met with pushback

“This new facility is essential to allow BC Transit to grow its fleet – both handyDART and conventional – to schedule more buses on more routes to meet the ever increasing demand for public transit in Greater Victoria,” Trevena said. “BC Transit facilities within Greater Victoria are at capacity. If we do nothing there will be a direct impact on people who live and work in Greater Victoria who rely on public transit because (BC) Transit won’t be able to implement its planned expansion.”

The Minister said the province and BC Transit will work with View Royal to make sure the facility is built “to the high standards required by the community.”

An e-mail statement from BC Transit said it is pleased the province is enabling the Burnside Road site for use as a new handyDART facility. It also says the existing one is at capacity and will not accommodate expansion.

BC Transit says more details will be released in coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Screech said more discussion about the province’s actions in overruling the Town of View Royal needs to take place.

“A … negotiation, discussion and offering of community amenities has to happen and it hasn’t happened yet,” Screech said.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP K9 Halla. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sound of RCMP dog enough to stop suspects in Oak Bay

West Shore RCMP K9 unit called in, didn’t get to chase

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

Improving safety at Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway is the goal of the flyover project currently in the works. The province aims to reveal the final cost and design this fall. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Final budget, design of Keating flyover in Central Saanich still in the works

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says information coming by this fall

UVic Department of Anthropology chair and professor, April Nowell, at home with a copy of her new book, Growing Up In the Ice Age. (Courtesy of April Nowell)
New book by University of Victoria professor explores lives of Ice Age children

April Nowell spent two decades researching archaeological evidence of children, teens

Proposed design for the Topaz Park bike and skate park elements. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria requesting feedback on Topaz Park redesign

Public input now being taken for proposed skate, bike park ideas

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Most Read