Each of the three candidates running in the provincial election were asked what the three most important issued are in the Juan de Fuca.
John Horgan BC NDP (Incumbent)
Having served as the local MLA for two terms, I have an understanding of the range of concerns facing residents of Juan de Fuca. It’s difficult to narrow it down to just three as growing the economy, protecting our environment, and fostering a more caring society are dominant themes.
1. Regional Transportation
There has been a serious lack of funding for transportation initiatives in the South Island over the last decade. The BC NDP are committed to creating a Regional Transportation Authority which will find efficient and cost effective ways to move people around the region. We’ll look at implementing a coordinated, multi-modal, regional transportation plan, including getting the E&N railway transporting people and goods, looking at further improvements like the McKenzie intersection and shoulder widening on Highway 14, and reviewing the feasibility of other transportation initiatives like high occupancy lanes.
2. Reducing Inequality
B.C. has had the highest child poverty rates in Canada for eight years running and we have unprecedented numbers of seniors, students and families visiting local food banks. The BC NDP is taking aim at reducing child poverty through enhancing social service rates and committing $210 million annually to the BC Family Bonus Program that will add $829 annually to low and moderate income families with kids under 18. We also commit to strengthening the Ministry of Children and Families and Community Living BC.
3. Improved Healthcare
We have families without primary care physicians, an aging demographic with increasing health care requirements, and individuals with mental health concerns with inadequate support. We must redefine our goals to keep pace with our aging population and refocus our activities on innovation and improvements to care. The B.C. NDP will commit $70 million over three years to enable more seniors and those with disabilities to receive greater community care, we’ll devote $35 million to child and youth mental health services, and look to control health care costs by restoring and expanding programs that reduce the cost of prescription medications.
The BC NDP has a fully-costed fiscal plan that outlines how we will pay for the programs we have announced in our provincial platform.
Kerrie Reay, Liberal
Reay is a District of Sooke councillor and is project manager at BC Corrections headquarters in Victoria. She is a criminology graduate of Simon Fraser University and has worked for BC Corrections since 1985.
Reay wants to continue to see jobs and economic growth in the Juan de Fuca, that’s why she chose to run as a candidate in the May 14 provincial election.
“I want to be the voice to keep government focussed,” she said. Her responses to the top three issuse:
1. Jobs. Jobs are essential to keeping people on the West Shore and Sooke. We recognize that Langford grew by 30 per end and Sooke by 18 per cent, that’s significant growth… with growth comes people.
2. Education. There are demands on education and the BC Liberals recognize that. She said the Liberals are spending $58-million on building a new Belmont secondary school and $36.8-million on Royal Bay as part of the province’s $353 million school capital plan.
3. Transportation. Reay said she rides the bus into work and knows what it is like. Transportation doesn’t just mean Highway 1 or out of Langford, it’s also out of Sooke to town. She would like to see some passing lanes put in on the road from Sooke.
Reay also mentioned keeping government at a limit, balanced budgets and reducing the tax burden on British Columbians and investment on infrastructure, highways, hospitals and schools.
Carlos Serra, Green Party
Carlos Serra was born in Portugal and grew up in the South Okanagan. He graduated with degrees in Philosophy and English Literature. He moved from public education to private when he purchased an English Language School in 2002.
Serra has never run for public office and never thought he would. He has a clear vision of the western communities as the greenest region Canada, incorporating sustainable government policies and taking advantage of the Juan de Fuca’s unique position as one of the fastest growing regions in B.C.
Three pressing issues facing residents of Juan de Fuca:
1. Langford is expected to double in population in the next few years and this growth will demand new housing developments and infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the needs of a relatively young population. We need to ensure that new developments are part of our Green strategy and using the latest green technologies available as this avoids any unnecessary construction redundancies in the future. Our policy of Triple Bottom Line Accounting ensures that new developments consider the social, environmental and economic impact of new projects. Building new ‘right’ makes much more sense than retrofitting buildings and infrastructure in the future.
2. There has a been a growing dissatisfaction with the position of the western communities within the CRD, as other municipalities dominate decision-making processes, in particular with regard to transit challenges. This, among other reasons has led to the notion of amalgamating the multiple municipalities into one or at least a few number. The Green Party supports the maintenance of municipal autonomy as we feel that the needs of local residents are best served when the local communities have control over the decisions that affect their daily lives. What is needed is a stronger voice from the local MLA to pressure government to provide financing so that municipalities can maintain their ability to fund their own decisions.
3. Another priority issue remains the commute challenges that many residents face on a daily basis to and from Victoria. The Green Party believes we cannot build our way out of gridlock; instead, much greener transportation options need to be considered to reduce highway congestion. We are looking at recent studies that consider the feasibility of a passenger ferry from Royal Bay to the Inner Harbour. The study had a much larger than expected number of respondents, testifying to the importance local residents view the issue of transportation. I have spoken already to the Car Share Coop of Victoria to discuss the possibilities of new ride share programs. We would expand HOV travel, and investigate the feasibility of light rail options.
These and other challenges are not unique for municipalities, but what is unique in B.C. is the Juan de Fuca’s rapid growth that would allow for the integration of green technologies that would not only address the area’s immediate challenges, but do so in a way that respects the long term needs of residents.