What about public transit on the Saanich Peninsula?


Mr. Speaker: Member Saanich North and the Islands. The Saanich Peninsula is a vibrant
community. It’s a hub of industry. It’s home to businesses of all sizes, powered
by innovative entrepreneurs and a skilled labour force. Nearly $1 billion worth of business transactions
are generated in Keating, North Saanich and Sidney each year. It creates more than 5,000 jobs for this region
and thousands of other spinoffs. Many of these entrepreneurs are leaders in
the global marketplace. People who work in my riding come from all
across this region, but as the years pass, it’s becoming more difficult to get around. In every one of my visits to local businesses,
the owners and managers have told me their employees need better access to transit services. It’s not a new problem. The message has been consistent over the years
and across multiple governments. My question is to the Minister of Transportation. When will the minister make public transportation
on the Saanich Peninsula a priority? Mr. Speaker: Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. C. Trevena: I appreciate the member’s question. I know that he’s passionate about public transit,
as am I. We want to make sure that we’re making investments
in the transit system to get people out of their cars. At the moment, we’re in Bike to Work Week,
and we’re seeing more people getting on bicycles to commute, but we do need to make that shift
to get people out of cars and onto public transit. We’re, at the moment, investing in bus lanes
along Douglas Street, out along the Saanich Peninsula, and we’re investing record amounts
of money in B.C. Transit. I hope that the member will continue to work
with me to identify the areas that really need that investment. Mr. Speaker: The member for Saanich North
and the Islands on a supplemental. A. Olsen: Joshua is a roast master at Level
Ground. For 12 years he’s been a transit rider, and
unfortunately, he, like many other people that I have spoken to, feels that service
on the Saanich Peninsula is in decline. I think this is hardly the message that we
should be sending to people that we want to get out of their cars and onto transit. Recently, local leaders have called for free
transit, which is open to discussion here in the region. Every time I visit local high schools, students
are clear with me that they need and want a robust, convenient, reliable transit system. The central focus of the town hall last week
on the Green New Deal here in Victoria was on public mass transportation. The minister has opened up a south Island
transportation study in this region, but since 2011, we’ve had a very good plan for how to
improve regional transit infrastructure and services. But instead of implementing it, this government
has kicked the can down the road once again. That said, some projects, like the $86 million
improvement to Highway 14, seem to be getting funding without any problem. To the Minister of Transportation: can the
minister explain why the Highway 14 project was more of a priority than investing money
more broadly across greater Victoria to improve our regional mass transportation networks? Mr. Speaker: Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. C. Trevena: I really do appreciate the opportunity
to talk a bit about transportation in the south Island, which was ignored for 16 years
under the previous government. Through those 16 years, there has been a massive
deterioration, which is why we did launch the south Island transportation strategy,
which is going to be looking at how we can make sure we integrate transportation. We’re looking at bus transportation. We’re looking at how we can potentially integrate
ferries. We’re looking at the rail lines. We’re looking at our highways — how to make
sure that is integrated to better serve the needs of everyone in the south Island. Safety does come first. We are looking at Highway 14. Investments there are going to increase safety. They’re going to increase reliability and
address mobility concerns for one of the fastest-growing regions, I think, of the whole of B.C., when
you look at the West Shore and what’s happening there. It is not an either-or. It’s working together to make sure we’ve got
a strategy for a region that was ignored for 16 years, as well as making immediate investments.

2 comments

  • BIGFOOT FOREST Vancouver Island

    Thanks for posting Adam ! And yes we do so need a better transit plan in place with a realistic consideration of future growth.

  • Ronzig the Wizard

    As usual all across Canada. not just in BC, Highways eat up almost all of the transportation budget when what is needed is public transit that is reliable, comfortable and affordable if not free. If such a transportation system was provided a vast reduction if private means of getting around the province would drop off exponentially. I live in Osoyoos and the nearest real hospital is in Penticton a hundred kilometers away yet only two buses make the trip daily and local transit is virtually non existent. When will government stop giving us platitudes and start providing the transit system we need? I can't walk more than a few feet but when I took a bus back from Penticton hospital I had to get to the Cherry Lane mall to take the bus home and wait for two hours for it to come. When we arrived in Osoyoos I was told to get off at the far end of town from where I live and had to find my own way home. This is not acceptable service and the BC government should be ashamed of itslf for spending its budget on highways instead of public transit.

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