Getting important projects done requires regional co-operation. The $10-million replacement of the Craigflower bridge using federal gas tax funds is a perfect example.
The CRD board supported the application from View Royal and Saanich to access the federal gas tax funds because the Craigflower bridge is a regionally significant transportation corridor.
We should consider all our major infrastructure projects in a regional context. Thirteen municipalities have 13 different lists of important projects. We’re all competing for the same pots of federal and provincial money. Let’s consolidate our lists and identify our common priorities. Speaking with a single voice will get the attention of senior governments.
Our elected officials need to start viewing the world in similar terms. We’re a region. Let’s act like one. Transportation planning can clearly be shared. Let’s plan transit routes, bus lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks and trails with the regional commuter in mind.
Residents like that they can pick up the phone and call their councillor about a neighbourhood issue. An amalgamated regional government would sever that community relationship.
We’d likely have a ward system with two or three local representatives per district on a 20- or even 50-member board. That’s too big and too far removed from local issues and local residents.
Let’s let local councils make the local land use decisions. But let’s regionalize the common services and work together. It’s better governance and it just makes sense.