OPINION: A busy year for John Horgan sets up 2013

As we approach the end of each year, I like to take some time to reflect on everything that has happened over the past 12 months.

As we approach the end of each year, I like to take some time to reflect on everything that has happened over the past 12 months – the good, the bad and the not so much – and think about my goals and priorities for the coming year.

This year was a particularly busy one for me. I dove into my Opposition House Leader role with gusto, travelled across the province as Energy Critic and dealt with many issues of concern right here in our area.

As the year began, I looked forward to challenging the BC Liberal government on a multitude of issues which negatively impact the day to day lives of taxpayers in my riding, and all across the province. But more importantly, I looked forward to a robust legislative session where I could bring focus to these many issues and bring sensible, working solutions to the table.

Alas, this wasn’t to be. The spring session lasted a measly 47 days. The session was marked by a lack of focus and a collection of random legislative changes. No traditional Speech from the Throne – the Premier instead laid out her plan for the Province’s future via the radio airwaves. The session came to an end with dozens of bills and hundreds of pages of legislation being shoved through, most with little or no debate, and many ending with closure. An increasingly common practice for this government.

When the Legislature is dormant it is more difficult to get the ear of Ministers to effect change– more difficult, but not impossible. Significantly, local residents banded together to successfully move two important projects forward. The Minister of Environment recently discontinued an annual core funding grant to the BC Lake Stewardship Society, a non-profit society dependent upon volunteers and dedicated to the preservation and protection of lakes in BC. After much lobbying, the minister agreed to reinstate the Society’s funding.

Residents also campaigned for a new aerator in our own Langford Lake. Each year the Ministry of Environment stocks the lake with thousands of trout, providing for approximately 7,500 angler days of fishing per year. It was evident the 25 year old aerator could no longer effectively keep the fish stocks healthy, but there was no funding to fix the problem. In the end, the funding was found and the project was cost shared between the City of Langford, local businesses and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Other issues that I spent time working on still need our attention. Issues like a federal and provincial plan to manage our fishery. The Bill James Dam on DeMamiel Creek is slated to be decommissioned; the impact on local salmon enhancement is not being taken seriously by federal officials. I have suggested that the provincial government undertake a water use plan of the Sooke region – focusing on fish values and protection of drinking water, but unfortunately that commitment has not yet been realized.

On the school capital front, we have seen significant commitments to funding two new high schools in the West Shore as well as seismic upgrades to protect our kids in aging elementary schools. Similarly, dollars for road improvements have been welcomed on Highway 14 out to Port Renfrew and improved median barriers on the Malahat mean safer travelling around the South Island. Much more work needs to be done, but we need a regional plan and a government committed to meeting the growing needs of our communities.

As I sign off from 2012, I am eager to start the year ahead. I’m steadfast in my determination to find practical solutions to the problems we face in our neighbourhoods and across our province. I am proud to represent people that are passionate and committed to standing up for what they believe is right for their community and for future generations. Every voice can add up to make a big change. Working together produces positive results and creates the relationships needed to move quickly when local problems emerge.

I wish you all the best in the coming year.

John Horgan is the MLA for Juan de Fuca.

Just Posted

West Shore lands Pan Am Cross Country Cup

Event coming to Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort Spa in February 2020

Victoria shoppers fund Jubliee hospital cardiac monitoring

More than $40k raised over the holidays at Canadian Tire locations

Pacific FC to face off against HFX Wanderers FC at inaugural match

First game at Westhills Stadium on April 28

BC Housing remains open to modular housing in Saanich, but acknowledges slow regional up take

Only one project with 21 units underway in the Greater Victoria

WATCH: Suspect detained, Saanich Police confirm weapons threat a false alarm

Police event ends, residents return to their homes, shortly before noon, Friday, Feb. 22

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read