B.C. ELECTION 2017: We ask aspiring politicos 5 questions about Sooke

B.C. ELECTION 2017: We ask aspiring politicos 5 questions about Sooke

And they give their take on health care, Highway 14 and housing

  • May. 4, 2017 6:00 a.m.

SCOTT BURONLibertarian

What is the biggest election issue?

Personally, I believe the biggest issue this election that B.C. is facing, is affordability, especially affordability in housing.

What is the region’s most pressing issue?

For the Langford area, transit is becoming an increasing issue, but also up the island. As well as a lack of jobs in areas such as Sooke. Where a lot of people are forced to drive into Victoria each day just for work.

What is the solution to Highway 14?

I unfortunately do not know enough of this issue to offer a detailed answer.

Mayor Maja Tait wants a health-care facility for Sooke. How will you facilitate that?

Our health-care plan opens up a wide variety of health alternatives and options for B.C. By allowing citizens to invest in a private health-care alternatives, we can lower the cost of health coverage, and tied into our housing and development policy we will make the cost of building a new health centre much lower.

There’s a dire need for affordable housing in Sooke. What would you do to encourage housing development?

Housing prices reached new highs during the past year, making the dream of ownership more difficult. The BC Liberals want to spend billions on interest-free loans, which place a heavy burden on taxpayers while further inflating home prices and put our economy at risk of a 2008 style sub-prime mortgage crisis. A safer and less costly way to keep home prices reasonable is to increase supply. Bringing new housing stock to market is restrained in numerous ways. For example, over 80% of the land in Vancouver is zoned for single-family residential only. By relaxing or removing these restrictions, we can free up the market to provide more housing at lower cost.

​Work with municipalities to reduce development costs, streamline building permit processes, and simplify and accelerate rezoning.

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JOHN HORGANNDP

What is the biggest election issue?

People desperately want a government that works for them, and they’re not getting it from the Christy Clark Liberals. Access to services like health care and education, making life more affordable, and making sure people have good jobs that last. Those are the three areas I’m running for premier on, and nowhere do they apply more than in Sooke.

What is the region’s most pressing issue?

There are two issues that need to be addressed. First, better access to health care in Sooke is important. Many people don’t have a family doctor, and the nearest facility to get the health services they need are 45 minutes away by car, or even longer by bus. That ties into the other pressing issue: the highway. The current government has all but ignored Highway 14, and its long past time to get to work.

What is the solution to Highway 14?

I’ve been advocating for improvements to access to Sooke by making upgrades to Highway 14 for a long time, but we haven’t had a government that was listening. We have to recognize that Sooke is a growing community, and we need a government that recognizes that, and gets to work on road improvements to support its growth. That means more shoulders and widening, and double lanes on some parts of the road where possible.

Mayor Maja Tait wants a health-care facility for Sooke. How will you facilitate that?

One of the key planks in the NDP platform is to create Urgent Family Care Centres. They’re an innovative way to provide care to communities that include many different health professionals in one place, from doctors to nurse practicioners to pharmacists, midwives, and other specialists that communities need.

There’s a dire need for affordable housing in Sooke. What would you do to encourage housing development?

The B.C. NDP platform I put forward includes a very ambitious plan to build 114,000 homes across the province. That will be done through partnerships with municipalities, non-profits, co-ops, developers and others.

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WILLIE NELSONVancouver Island Party

What is the biggest election issue?

Corruption.

What is the region’s most pressing issue?

The lack of Medical facilities and the transit issues associated with Highway 14.

What is the solution to Highway 14?

Light rail transit! We already have the rail beds built!

Mayor Maja Tait wants a health-care facility for Sooke. How will you facilitate that?

If elected MLA I would contribute a minimum half of my salary directly to local co-operative housing projects and new medical facilities in the Langford – Juan de Fuca riding.

There’s a dire need for affordable housing in Sooke. What would you do to encourage housing development?

A guaranteed annual income for all citizens would make housing more affordable. I would introduce legislation to fund municipalities at the local level to tackle this issue. A provincewide program would most likely be wasteful and unable to accommodate for the special needs of different communities.

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CATHY NOELLiberal

What is the biggest election issue?

I’ve been knocking on doors and I have heard a range of issues people are facing, including access to childcare, physicians, housing, and the overall tax burden on working families. What I consistently hear is that people feel they know how to spend their money better than government, and when they hear about an idea from a political party they want to know how they are going to pay for it.

What is the region’s most pressing issue?

Transportaion is an issue facing of us, from Bear Mountain to Port Renfrew. We need to invest in both roads and transit to improve safety and reduce congestion. Construction is now underway to fix the region’s worst bottleneck at McKenzie and Highway 1. The B.C. Liberal government is invesing in transit and is commited to assessing the viability of using the E&N corridor as a dedicated commuter service between the Western Communies and Victoria.

What is the solution to Highway 14?

Over the last five years, $7 million has been invested into the corridor and I agree we can do more. Improvements like increased lighting, safety improvements at high risk intersections and increased space around bus pullouts to improve visibility will help.

Mayor Maja Tait wants a health-care facility for Sooke. How will you facilitate that?

Let’s be clear: the NDP urgent care centre proposal is simply re-branding successful B.C. Liberal government pilot projects already operating in other communities. BC Liberals call it primary care and have committed $90 million in new funding to bring integrated team-based primary care services to more communities like ours.

There’s a dire need for affordable housing in Sooke. What would you do to encourage housing development?

The new B.C. Home Partnership program will invest about $703 million to help an estimated 42,000 households enter the market for the first time. And we introduced the Property Purchase Tax exemption for newly built homes priced up to $750,000.

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BRENDAN RALFSGreen Party

What is the biggest election issue?

I believe the biggest issue specific to the election is voter turnout, which has been dropping over the last several provincial elections. I encourage eligible voters to educate themselves about the issues, party platforms and candidates in their ridings, and then get out and vote on May 9.

What is the region’s most pressing issue?

While there are many important issues facing the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding, I feel the most pressing is transportation. Solutions must be found for the congestion that plagues travel within the Westshore and from there to all other parts of Greater Victoria. On a related note, Highway 14 needs dramatic safety improvements.

What is the solution to Highway 14?

Highway 14 requires provincial funding and commitment for a full highway improvement project from the intersection of Happy Valley and Sooke roads all the way to Port Renfrew. At the minimum this should include re-surfacing and a full suite of safety improvements including better lighting, medians and passing lanes.

Mayor Maja Tait wants a health-care facility for Sooke. How will you facilitate that?

Sooke desperately needs a new primary health care facility to serve its population. I would be excited to champion this cause, but I would not attack it alone. I would work collaboratively with Mayor Tait and all other stakeholders to ensure Sooke received the health care resources it needs.

There’s a dire need for affordable housing in Sooke. What would you do to encourage housing development?

Our platform identifies a commitment to invest up to $750 million per year to construct approximately 4,000 new units of affordable housing; work with federal and local governments to make appropriate land available for this purpose; develop a housing plan that addresses deficiencies in the supply of affordable rental accommodation; lead a collaborative review of local zoning; and invest $100 million per year in retrofits and renovations of existing social housing.