Student societies get non-voting seat on Victoria Regional Transit Commission

UVic, Camosun student societies to alternate at commission table

Students at the University of Victoria and Camosun College will soon have a voice at the commission overseeing local B.C. Transit service.

The Victoria Regional Transit Commission – which determines route configurations, sets fares and approves transit capital spending – voted on Feb. 18 to give student societies from both schools one non-voting seat. The VRTC is currently made up of elected politicians from Saanich, Victoria and alternating members from Esquimalt-Oak Bay and both the Peninsula and West Shore communities.

“We went with a non-voting seat because a voting seat would require a change in legislation around regional transit commissions. That would have taken some time and lobbying,” said Greg Atkinson, UVic Student Society director of external relations. Post-secondary students pay for unlimited bus access each semester through B.C. Transit’s U-Pass program.

Atkinson said the commission seat will be filled on a rotating basis with a member from Camosun’s student society beginning at the VRTC’s June 16 meeting. The two student societies represent about 36,000 undergraduate students across Greater Victoria.

“Our seat means we get agendas, budgets, reports beforehand so we know what to expect as issues come forward,” Atkinson said.

The motion was brought forward by Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell and seconded by Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins. Atwell vowed last October he would push for VRTC student society representation if elected to office.

“The students did a lot of the work and presentation,” Atwell said. “We drafted the motion and because it didn’t require a legislative change, we were able to vote on it. I’m glad to see student societies participate in a more formal way.”

Desjardins said the vote was unanimous after students spent the past few months lobbying VRTC members.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea. Now, the second step is to look at a legislative change at the provincial level,” Desjardins said.

The governance structure of the VRTC has been debated for years. Some politicians want its authority to be transferred to the Capital Regional District, while others propose opening up the commission to more permanent municipal and stakeholder members.

Desjardins favours the latter option.

“It seems a little ridiculous to only have one Peninsula and one West Shore seat when they’re the fastest growing communities,” she said. “That’s where the expansion will be and they need more of a voice.”

Atkinson said student representation at the transit commission is precedent-setting across B.C.

B.C. Transit staff will bring back a report to the VRTC in June that outlines how a legislative change might occur to allow for more voting members.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP seizes more than $16,000 worth of drugs

Suspected cocaine, pills and cash seized from a Greater Victoria home

Emerald Gloves boxing brings fights to Langford

Langford’s Matt Daniels dropped weight for debut

Team Canada to hold junior selection camp in Victoria

22 players from camp will make roster for 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to Victoria goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Victoria City Council directs staff to proceed with Central Park for new Crystal Pool location

Save-On-Foods Memorial parking lot still up for discussion as a location

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

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

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

Port Alberni convenience store robbed

Police still searching for suspect

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Most Read