Susan Brice, chair of the CRD’s transportation select committee, and CRD chief administrative officer Robert Lapham appeared before Langford council this week to plead their case for a regional transportation service.
While Brice stated she didn’t have to convince anyone that traffic is a problem in the region, she likely knew going into the meeting that gaining Langford’s full support for this new service would be an uphill battle.
And council members were quick to find fault with the new service, questioning the role the CRD could play in plans for improving corridors that are under provincial jurisdiction. It was clear councillors had done their homework, going over the proposal with a fine tooth comb. But they stopped short of committing their taxpayers to a bill that could turn into millions of dollars in a few short years.
They were also concerned about having to pony up money to fix problems in other areas that could be dealt with by those municipalities. Mayor Stew Young questioned if it was even the role of a regional government to fix these problems. Ultimately, the idea of supporting (and paying for) a project that had no impact on Langford residents was one of the factors that led many councillors to voice concerns and ultimately shoot down the idea.
Langford has a complex history with the CRD that’s shadowed by past projects and experiences proving that not all money has been spent with the best interests of Langford taxpayers in mind.
We can see how Langford councillors may feel like their concerns and issues are being overshadowed by louder voices coming from core municipalities.
But eventually, everyone in the region will need to work as a team to get major inter-municipal projects done or risk critical infrastructure falling behind the times.
It could be that now is the perfect time to take a good, hard look at the CRD and exactly what services they should be offering and thin out any duplications.
And maybe now is the time to redefine the relationships between all 13 member municipalities.