Parking variance sparks transit debate at UVic

An addition to the University of Victoria’s bookstore to better accommodate the existing computer store sparked discussion on improving transit service to the campus.

Saanich council Monday night eventually approved a parking variance request from the university. But first, the director of campus planning heard councillors’ concerns that the school wasn’t doing enough to ensure students had proper access to transit.

“To have students pay for this mandatory service (U-Pass), and get passed over by two or three buses, then have parents drive them up to campus so they’re not late for class, that’s not good enough,” Coun. Paul Gerrard said.

Coun. Vic Derman has had to drive his daughter to UVic a number of times after she’s been passed by full buses. UVic needs to put pressure on B.C. Transit to improve routes to and from the school, Derman said.

“If we were to not grant these variances, we would be encouraging congestion on our roads,” he said.

Discussions with transit are ongoing, as the school works on its transit master plan, said Neil Connelly, director of campus planning.

The addition will add 420 sq.-metres to the bookstore and council ultimately approved the parking variance, which means UVic won’t have to add nine parking spaces normally required for an expansion of this size.

kslavin@saanichnews.com