COLWOOD – Colwood Council opposes the Capital Regional District (CRD) plan for a regional transportation service to resolve traffic congestion in the Greater Victoria region. Instead, the council called on the regional district to support, not surplant, existing municipal plans to improve traffic flows and mitigate congestion.
“There is no question that we as regional Mayors need to work together to make a strong case to the province to fund the transportation priorities that are clearly identified in multiple existing plans,” said Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton. “We don’t need another costly and bureaucratic CRD service creating more endless plans to get that done. We just need to get on with it.”
Colwood Council was responding to a CRD request for feedback, after the regional board gave third reading to Transportation Service Establishment Bylaw No. 4093. Assuming the support of local council and/or the electorate, the bylaw would authorize the regional district to initiate develop of a regional transportation service.
The council described the proposed regional transportation authority as a “false panacea” that would further frustrate residents and create additional delays in implementing already identified infrastructure solutions to ease congestion. The Council is already working with the provincial Ministry of Transportation and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission/BC Transit Commission on measures to relieve gridlock.
“Solutions to our region’s traffic congestion require action on highways, municipal roads, transit enhancements, and possibly the E&N corridor and ferry options – none of which the CRD has any authority over,” Hamilton said, adding “Make no mistake that the proposed service authorizes the CRD to increase taxes by $2.5M. It is tied to a Board policy to do just that.”
In a letter to the CRD, Colwood Council agreed transportation is an issue but described the CRD response as short-sighted and “a vague ill-defined service for the purpose of political gain. The focus should be on meaningful discussion on solutions rather than simply creating another service with further taxing authority,”
The letter cited nine existing transportation plans already developed by area municipalities and the CRD, including:
- Victoria Region Transit Future Plan (2011);
- Westshore Local Area Transit Plan (2015);
- CRD Regional Transportation Plan (2014);
- Victoria Region Bus Lane Project (2013);
- Victoria Region Transit Priority Corridor Plan (2013);
- Victoria Regional Rapid Transit Report (2011);
- McKenzie Interchange Project (2016);
- E&N Rail Reports and Studies; and
- Commuter Rail Analysis (2010).
Colwood Council maintained the solution is to implement the infrastructure projects identified in existing plans, not create an additional layer of planning and service to generate more reports and taxes.
“It is time for the jurisdictions with legal control of their roads and their budgets to work on tangible solutions,” the letter stated. Colwood Council is also concerned that the proposed bylaw authorizes the CRD to tax and spend an additional $2.5 million on the transportation project and that the CRD board was discussing gaining approval for the bylaw via an alternate approval process.