Langford hesitant to support more CRD services

Councillors worry about piling on more costs for taxpayers

Langford council members are hesitant to support the Capital Regional District’s push to establish a regional transportation service, but withheld completely rejecting the idea until more of their questions and comments could be heard at this Monday’s council meeting.

“At this point in time my recommendation is that Langford not proceed to add a new function,” said Coun. Denise Blackwell during recent council discussions on the matter. She noted there has been no resolution in regards to the Greater Victoria Transit Commission and nodded to the fact that Langford is not represented there and other West Shore municipalities have very limited representation.

The new proposed service would provide the CRD with a mandate to address regional transportation needs to the extent outlined in their regional transportation plan, which was developed after consolation with local governments, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, B.C. Transit and other stakeholders in the region. The transportation plan identifies priority actions and targets.

While council members initially voted to withhold their support for any new CRD services at this time, they decided to defer that motion until Susan Brice, chair of the CRD transportation select committee, or another member could meet with council to hear their concerns and answer questions. Brice is scheduled to appear at this Monday’s council meeting.

While Langford council members agreed there are traffic-related issues in the region, they questioned the CRD’s jurisdiction to do anything about them. “The real problem is the Trans-Canada Highway,” noted Coun. Lanny Seaton, acting as mayor during the last Langford council meeting. But, as he pointed out, that roadway falls under the province’s jurisdiction and not the CRD’s. He added Langford staff have done an incredible job of addressing east-west connectors and traffic flow in the city and nodded to other municipalities that may need to do a better job of addressing those areas within their own municipalities.

But what really caused council members to pause was the costs associated with this service. While the letter from the CRD stated the creation of this service would initially be cost neutral – with funds being shifted from other budgets – councillors were wary that future years of the service could come with a hefty price tag.

“How much is this going to cost us,” asked Coun. Roger Wade. He nodded to the CRD’s report, which estimated costs of $3 million in phase 2 and $10 million in phase 2-b.

Blackwell noted “the problem is, if you sign on to a CRD service and then everyone around the table decides they want to spend however many millions of dollars more, once you’re in the service, you’re in the service.”

Seaton nodded to other CRD services that have yet to have their price tags determined, especially noting the sewage project could still come as a huge blow to taxpayers. “There’s a lot of money in the air,” he said, expressing concerns about overcommitting their taxpayers.

It was a sentiment echoed around the table with Blackwell adding, “I think we need to be really cautious before we commit to another CRD service.”

Coun. Lillian Szpak weighed in on the debate after listening carefully to Blackwell and Seaton – Langford’s two CRD representatives. “I do support a regional transportation service, however, I don’t think we do it at any cost.”

She also noted a perception of fairness and the history Langford representatives have experienced around the CRD table. “I think it’s changing a little bit,” she said.

While she added council has always tried to come to the table and participate, she said hearing Brice’s presentation before making a final decision would allow council members to make an informed decision and not one based on past experiences.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Crews respond to near drowning at Thetis Lake

Man taken to hospital after calls come in of drowning in progress

PHOTOS: Thousands raised for cancer at second annual Gala for Hope

Victoria Fire Department’s fundraiser a success ahead of Ride to Conquer Cancer

Vet services for Victoria’s pets of the homeless cancelled for first time in a decade

Vets for Pets faces a volunteer shortage that’s forced the group to cancel its recent service

Wooldog among mysteries uncovered with powerful UVic microscope

Finding ‘Mutton,’ a dog lost in a Smithsonian drawer for 150 years

Optometrist pedals through depression, leads others for the cause

Ride Don’t Hide bike rides start, end at Windsor Park

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read