Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton is among the four new appointees to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission as the only representative for the West Shore.
Minister of transportation and infrastructure Blair Lekstrom announced the appointments on March 9. The new appointees join three current VRTC members to form the commission, which determines fares, routes and service levels.
The group also reviews and makes recommendations for B.C. Transit’s budget and spending in relation to the Victoria region.
Hamilton said the West Shore has some “significant transit issues” that she hopes to work on in the new position. She admitted she has some catching up to do but at this early stage sees the level of bus service and expanding options, such as the E&N railway, as primary concerns.
“We have to be lobbying on a number of fronts,” Hamilton said, “not just buses.”
Concerns have been raised over the level of representation for the West Shore on the commission. Hamilton agrees that considering the size of the region and its level of growth, one representative for all six municipalities, including Sooke, is perhaps inadequate.
“We’re probably a little short shifted in that regard,” Hamilton said. “It would be nice to see it bumped up.”
One possible solution is to have the Capital Regional District take over the responsibilities of the commission. An independent review of how public transit is delivered in the province has been initiated by the ministry, at the quest of mayors and other elected officials. The terms of that review are still being determined but Lekstrom has said that governance will be within its scope.
“Overall the BC Transit system works well,” Lekstrom said. “However, I recognize the mayors’ concerns and I think there is room for improvement.”