Mayor candidates largely agreeable at lunch

Topics range from traffic issues to local housing for local employees

Not surprising given the makeup of the audience, all four men vying for mayoral seats on the Peninsula say they will support business if elected.

Alastair Bryson and Christopher Graham, seeking the top job in Central Saanich, answered questions alongside Sidney mayoral candidates Larry Cross and Jack Barker during a luncheon meeting hosted by Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

Alice Finall, the mayor acclaimed in North Saanich, also participated in the discussion.

Transportation, highway access, housing and a business-friendly culture on the Peninsula all made the question session and got similar answers from the candidates.

“Sidney is struggling to look at worker housing,” Cross said. “Our challenge is land, and because we have so little land, costs are high.”

“I agree with Larry, we need to look at that,” Barker said. “We need affordable and attainable housing in our three communities.”

They also agreed in principle on signage issues in the town.

“We need to revisit this, but we need to be careful of our signage,” Barker said. Huge signs could ruin the quaint atmosphere of the main streets, he added.

“The sign bylaw, like many of our other bylaws, is antiquated … It’s prohibitive, it’s unfriendly,” Cross said. He added that signage was next on the docket after council has dealt with the ongoing look at the town’s zoning bylaw.

The Central Saanich candidates, too, found places to agree, noting that the Keating X Road industrial area provides opportunity for growth. The business-based audience asked whether it was realistic to envision achieving safer access from the highway to Keating anytime soon.

Bryson, a current Central Saanich councillor, said they’ve made inroads with provincial ministries that led them to believe a good business case will get the ball rolling.

“It’s definitely an issue of dollars and priorities for the province,” Graham said, adding it could be a long, uphill battle.

While the series of roundabouts at the airport weren’t the simplest concept for an interchange, candidates agreed, they do function.

The roundabout slated for Ocean Avenue and Lochside Drive split the Sidney candidates. They were asked that if the project appeared to be over budget, would they not only consider constructing a four-way stop instead, but reinstate the visitor centre removed to create Iroquois Park.

The roundabout, funded with gas tax funds, would need public review, Barker said. “I want to talk about what is best for our community.”

The problem, he and Cross agreed, is ferry traffic.

“(A roundabout) will keep that traffic flowing and it will be traffic calming for (vehicles) coming north into Sidney,” Cross said.

The plan now, he added, is to divert ferry traffic into Sidney to the visitor information centre on Bevan Avenue.


Just Posted

Victoria Police host Faith-Based Safety Forum in light of recent religious attacks

More than 35 faith-based leaders voice concerns, air questions

Still barriers to abortion access on Vancouver Island

Experts say transportation, support, doctors can be barriers to accessing abortion

Coastline serves up a feast of fiddlers in Oak Bay

Local Juno Award winner musical director for ensemble

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Most Read