Coun. Zeb King says changes need to be made across the region in regards to prioritizing public transit. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Central Saanich councillor offers counter-challenge to Victoria’s bus-riding motion

Councillor says Victoria can take things further by eliminating political perks

A Central Saanich councillor is offering a counter-challenge to the City of Victoria after spotting an inconsistency in environmental efforts.

Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow proposed a challenge to elected officials in the Capital Region to only use public transit as their sole means of transportation for one week. Dubow uses transit himself, and believes anyone making decisions about BC Transit infrastructure should have first-hand experience of the system.

Central Saanich Coun. Zeb King is also a transit user, but thinks more can be done by the city.

“I’m not against Coun. Dubow’s challenge, and in fact I challenge him right back to remove the free parking pass that’s sent out to the same politicians he’s challenging,” King said.

READ MORE: Victoria councillor challenges elected officials to use public transit for a week

Every year, the City of Victoria issues free city parking passes to elected officials in the capital region. The passes are to be used when conducting municipal business, and are valid Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bastion Square, Broughton Street, Centennial Square and View Street parkades.

Elected officials are given a free parking pass for downtown Victoria parkades (File submitted/ Zeb King)

For years King has returned his pass, and opted to take the bus instead. He’s also written to the city about this political perk.

“These parking passes are counter to the motion,” King said. “I think [getting rid of the passes] would be more consistent with the work they’ve done with the bike lanes, with improvements to transit and their work on climate change.”

King also wants to extend a challenge to the wider region, believing more work needs to be done to further push for free bus fare for youth. In August, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission (VRTC), of which King is not a member, had a tie vote on further pursuing the idea of a free region-wide pass for people aged 19 and under.

VRTC chair Susan Brice told Black Press at the time that the correct infrastructure wasn’t in place for all municipalities.

READ MORE: Greater Victoria commission says ‘no’ to regional youth transit pass pilot

“In a densely populated area where there’s pretty good transit service, moving towards free youth passes will be well received,” Brice said on Aug. 14. “But there are parts of the region where you can give them a free transit pass, but if there aren’t buses going there it isn’t going to work.”

King believes too many municipal leaders, including Sooke Mayor Maja Tait – who voted against the motion – aren’t looking at long-term environmental changes.

“[North Saanich] Mayor Geoff Orr supported the idea, and it’s roughly the same size of Sooke,” King said. “My challenge to Mayor Tait, who voted against free transit, is how do you plan to reduce the emissions?”

Presently, more than 50 per cent of community-based emissions in the region come from transportation.

The City of Victoria voted to go ahead with its own free youth transit pass pilot, and will be launching it on Dec. 1, 2020.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

BC Transitcity councilCity of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney Community Association aims to generate enthusiasm for OCP review

First of several community engagement sessions starts March 1

Coast Capital Savings in Saanich to re-open after COVID-19 scare

The branch closed ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Athletes gear up for Pan Am XC Cup at Bear Mountain Saturday

This is the first time Canada is hosting the championships

Extra precautions against COVID-19 put in place as tourism season arrives

Airports and border services follow federal cues to minimize spread of coronavirus

Nominations for Victoria municipal byelection are in

Victoria will elect one councillor

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read