Coun. Zeb King says changes need to be made across the region in regards to prioritizing public transit. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Central Saanich councillor offers counter-challenge to Victoria’s bus-riding motion

Councillor says Victoria can take things further by eliminating political perks

A Central Saanich councillor is offering a counter-challenge to the City of Victoria after spotting an inconsistency in environmental efforts.

Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow proposed a challenge to elected officials in the Capital Region to only use public transit as their sole means of transportation for one week. Dubow uses transit himself, and believes anyone making decisions about BC Transit infrastructure should have first-hand experience of the system.

Central Saanich Coun. Zeb King is also a transit user, but thinks more can be done by the city.

“I’m not against Coun. Dubow’s challenge, and in fact I challenge him right back to remove the free parking pass that’s sent out to the same politicians he’s challenging,” King said.

READ MORE: Victoria councillor challenges elected officials to use public transit for a week

Every year, the City of Victoria issues free city parking passes to elected officials in the capital region. The passes are to be used when conducting municipal business, and are valid Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bastion Square, Broughton Street, Centennial Square and View Street parkades.

Elected officials are given a free parking pass for downtown Victoria parkades (File submitted/ Zeb King)

For years King has returned his pass, and opted to take the bus instead. He’s also written to the city about this political perk.

“These parking passes are counter to the motion,” King said. “I think [getting rid of the passes] would be more consistent with the work they’ve done with the bike lanes, with improvements to transit and their work on climate change.”

King also wants to extend a challenge to the wider region, believing more work needs to be done to further push for free bus fare for youth. In August, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission (VRTC), of which King is not a member, had a tie vote on further pursuing the idea of a free region-wide pass for people aged 19 and under.

VRTC chair Susan Brice told Black Press at the time that the correct infrastructure wasn’t in place for all municipalities.

READ MORE: Greater Victoria commission says ‘no’ to regional youth transit pass pilot

“In a densely populated area where there’s pretty good transit service, moving towards free youth passes will be well received,” Brice said on Aug. 14. “But there are parts of the region where you can give them a free transit pass, but if there aren’t buses going there it isn’t going to work.”

King believes too many municipal leaders, including Sooke Mayor Maja Tait – who voted against the motion – aren’t looking at long-term environmental changes.

“[North Saanich] Mayor Geoff Orr supported the idea, and it’s roughly the same size of Sooke,” King said. “My challenge to Mayor Tait, who voted against free transit, is how do you plan to reduce the emissions?”

Presently, more than 50 per cent of community-based emissions in the region come from transportation.

The City of Victoria voted to go ahead with its own free youth transit pass pilot, and will be launching it on Dec. 1, 2020.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

BC Transitcity councilCity of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-inspired RV sales soaring on West Shore and beyond

Health restrictions, recommendations keep Vancouver Island vacationers closer to home

Saanich Peninsula business leader calls for education campaign on social distancing

Chamber boss Denny Warner says Sidney demographics make consistent safety protocols necessary

PHOTOS: Families, spectators wave goodbye to Navy Task Force from Victoria shorelines

HCMS Winnipeg and HCMS Regina sailing to Hawaiian training exercise, further deployments

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

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

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

Most Read