Mike Hicks says the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area is being discriminated against in regard to monies granted to municipalities in the Greater Victoria area.
Thirteen municipalities and the Capital Regional District received more than $7 million in community grants and traffic fine revenues. The Juan de Fuca EA got nothing.
“It’s just wrong,” said Hicks. “What’s the difference, my population is the same as Metchosin, why were we excluded?”
Metchosin received $714,592, the Highlands received $509,406 and they both have roughly the same population as the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, which includes East Sooke, Shirley, Jordan River, Port Renfrew, Willis Point and the Malahat.
“This is verging on a discrimination policy for the people of the Juan de Fuca, I hope we can address this,” said an irate Hicks on July 12.
In a letter written to Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Hicks says, “A few months ago, your colleague Kevin Falcon stated that the Juan de Fuca and in particular Port Renfrew is part of the CRD and therefore not qualified to be exempted from the HST on recreational properties. Now you are saying that the Juan de Fuca is part of the CRD but excluded from traffic fine grants.
“Each year that I have been elected the government has invited the 13 municipalities to each submit grant applications. When it comes to the 3 electoral areas in the CRD, we are invited to submit 1 ( one) application between the 3 of us.”
The three electoral areas are Juan de Fuca, Saltspring Island and the Gulf Islands.
“For me that is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Hicks. “Three specific grants absolutely exclude the Juan de Fuca residents; traffic fines, community futures and casino revenues.”
He said for the community futures grant, every municipality has the opportunity to put in a grant application, but the three electoral areas have to decide who gets to apply for it. In some cases the CRD gets to apply as well.
The casino revenue grants are available for adjacent municipalities but not the JDF.
“This is it for me. I will be aggressively pursuing this, once I’m back from fishing. It’s so blatant. We have to scrap together $6,000 to share the cost of crossing guards.”
Kelly Daniels, Chief Administration Officer for the CRD said via email, “It seems the province has lumped both the traffic fine revenue sharing grant with some of the community grants in this recent announcement. The $85K they refer to as going to the CRD is the community grant we receive that is used to fund the Grant Co-ordinators position. How much of the total received by municipalities in the press release is community grant vs fine revenue we don’t know.”
He said the traffic fine revenue goes directly for policing services. In the elecoral areas the province pays for the RCMP service and taxes the residents in the unincorporated areas.