Sunday October 11, 2020 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
This week there was a letter sent by 11 mayors of the Greater Victoria area to the three main BC political party leaders, asking for their positions on three key issues: child care (in support of the economy), mental health (in support of communities), and transportation (from Nanaimo south).
The October 7 news release as signed and issued by two core area mayors — Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes and View Royal Mayor David Screech (with cc to the other municipalities) — was headed up “Capital Region mayors call on provincial candidates about local issues”. The issues are broader than local but have local impacts.
The mayors are “calling on all provincial parties to address in their election platforms how or if their party will implement the following actions”, it was stated in the release.
Who signed on:
With this release, the municipalities hoped to make it clear as to the directions they would like to see the new provincial government head after the October 24 general election.
The municipalities who contributed to the thoughts behind the letter to party leaders were Saanich, View Royal, Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Langford, Colwood, Highlands, North Saanich, Sooke and Sidney.
The two municipalities that did not participate in the letter were Central Saanich and Metchosin, both essentially rural and perhaps not feeling they shared the urban-type concerns of child care, mental health and addiction, and regional transportation.
Collectively all 13 municipalities in Greater Victoria participate as the Capital Regional District (CRD).
Stated issues of concern:
These are the three issues presented in the letter to the BC party leaders:
- Ensure adequate child care centres are available to meet community needs.
- Address certification of early childcare educators.
- Provide funding to families or programs to address gaps in infant care, toddler care, and before- and after-school care centres.
Mental health, addictions and treatment:
- Quickly address addictions and mental health treatment and recovery options in our communities for youth, adults, and all those with complex needs.
- Address the toxic drug supply and scale up access to safer pharmaceutical alternatives for people at risk across British Columbia.
- Help provide appropriate 24×7 response to mental health and addictions calls in the community.
Transportation from Nanaimo south:
- Take action to invest in transportation and transportation related issues on southern Vancouver Island.
- Ensure a type of regional governance body for transportation matters would be established through working with local government.
- Acknowledge that transportation issues and governance on southern Vancouver Island must be addressed.
Coordinated by Saanich and View Royal:
“Our municipalities are facing challenging issues that we as local governments can’t address in isolation,” said District of Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes.
“As a regional group of municipal leaders, we collaborated to identify some of the most challenging, complex issues and we want our residents to know how each of the provincial parties and regional candidates intend to provide support to these issues,” said Haynes.
“As local mayors we felt it important to list three key issues of significant importance to the Capital Regional district,” said Town of View Royal Mayor David Screech.
“While it is difficult to isolate only three issues these ones are worthy of serious discussion during this election campaign. We are hopeful that we will receive some clear commitments from all parties and local candidates,” said Screech.
Most of the issues outlined above have already been addressed in party platforms and town halls to date, but the mayors requested that candidates address these issues during election town halls “so all residents can be informed as they prepare to vote in the upcoming provincial election”.
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