The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) is sticking with the current Victoria Regional Transit Commission appointments, as stated in Section 25 of the BC Transit Act.
“Although local governments may make recommendations regarding appointments, the Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office manages all requests to ensure provincial appointments are made on the basis of merit, following an open and transparent selection process,” a MoTI spokesperson wrote in an email.
The selection process is not clear to Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor, who has said there’s a lack of clarity on the grounds for appointment.
“The legislation says members will be picked from one of the three mayors, so what’s the criteria,” he asked, adding “it could help us meet the criteria.” A Central Saanich mayor last held a seat in the commission in 2011.
A View Royal mayor has never held a seat in the board, the town’s mayor David Screech said. As a result, transit needs there aren’t being discussed, he has told Black Press.
The commission recommends BC Transit routes and service levels in addition to setting transit fares and local taxes in the region, according to the B.C. government website.
View Royal’s mayor is eligible out of five West Shore mayors (Colwood, Metchosin, View Royal, Langford and Highlands), the mayor of Sooke or the electoral area director of the Juan de Fuca electoral area to be on the board. The Mayor of Sooke and Colwood have held the position for several years and swapped seats during various years.
The ministry wrote to Screech, saying there were no plans to change the appointment structure or introduce changes to the legislation that may lead to a more transparent appointment process.
“At this time…adjustments to the composition of the VRTC and subsequent changes to the BC Transit Act are not being considered,” Minister Claire Trevena wrote in a signed letter received by View Royal council on March 5.
Windsor questioned why certain members seem to keep being reelected. “If they’re saying that’s a coincidence that’s very interesting,” he said.
Both mayors have expressed the need for transit service adjustments for their jurisdiction. Windsor said he’d like to see bus service to the ferries and the airport as well as to Keating Cross Road and First Nations communities on the Saanich Peninsula.
Screech similarly stated he’d like to have tabled plans for more regular service for View Royal’s Thetis Lake region, where residents in a subdivision have to walk over 2.5 kilometers to reach the nearest bus stop.