View Royal Mayor calls on province to change Victoria Transit Commission statute on appointments

Service gaps not being addressed due to lack of representation

View Royal Mayor David Screech said he was “frustrated” that council has not ensured all communities in the area have representation in the Victoria Regional Transit Commission at some point.

“There has never been a View Royal voice on the transit commission,” Screech said.

“Transit is top of mind for everybody in the region, it’s not just the municipalities that have representation.”

The Victoria regional transit board recently appointed five new members to the eight-person commission. Mayor Rob Martin of Colwood was reappointed as the sole member representing West Shore.

Screech added that he doesn’t understand the reasoning behind the decision and noted the position is supposed to rotate around.

A letter to the minister asking for a change in how appointments were made was sent over a year ago and received no response, Screech said. He resent the letter a few months ago and said he hasn’t heard back.

The commission provides “recommendations to BC Transit on routes and service levels” in addition to setting transit fares and local taxes in the region, according to the B.C. government website.

“We feel that there’s nobody at that table that is talking about the gaps in transit in View Royal that needs to be looked after,” Screech said.

He pointed to how some residents in the subdivision close to Thetis Lake have to walk over 2.5 kilometres to get to the closest bus stop. People in the Riverside area on the other side of Thetis Lake Park suffer “genuinely terrible” transit service times that just “isn’t good enough,” he said.

The mayor of Central Saanich has also shared this frustration and asked for a seat on the commission. The mayor of North Saanich, by comparison, has been reappointed. “The only people that have the power to change this is the provincial government, so they need to update it to make it more representative of our communities,” Screech said.

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com


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