The Capital Regional District is considering adding another dollar a year to the parkland acquisition fund fee for homeowners. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Capital Regional District is considering adding another dollar a year to the parkland acquisition fund fee for homeowners. (Black Press Media file photo)

One dollar or two? Greater Victoria parks acquisition fee hike spurs debate

$2 a year too steep, CRD committee recommends $1 a year increase per household

Charging an extra $2 per year per household through 2030 for parks acquisition was more than most Capital Regional District board members felt was appropriate during the current difficult economic times.

However, an extra $1 a year for five years, as a way to help reduce the impact of climate change, boost the population’s general well-being during COVID and protect biodiversity – arguments made by supporters – was palatable enough to the majority around the committee of the whole table Wednesday to recommend the increase, as part of the proposed 2021 CRD parks budget.

Provisional approval was given by the committee for the CRD’s overall 2021 financial plan, which must still be approved at the CRD board level. Residents could potentially see the increase on next year’s bills.

Committee member and Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor’s motion to add the extra dollar contribution to the CRD’s parks acquisition fund to the current $20 a year households pay came after his motion to add $2 a year through 2030 was soundly defeated.

ALSO READ: CRD to consider plan for mountain biking trails at Mount Work

Given the CRD’s declaration of a climate emergency two years ago, Taylor said in support of the $2 hike, “we need to take action” toward reducing the region’s climate impact.

He found support from Salt Spring Island Electoral Area Director Gary Holman, who called it a “minimal increase that has a significant impact.”

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt said boosting support for parkland in this way “is responding to the climate emergency by protecting biological diversity and enhancing the sequestering of carbon.” Not only has visiting regional parks been one of few activities families could do during the height of COVID, he added, “this ranks near the top of the list of what people would like to see money spent on.”

However, the idea of injecting more money into the CRD’s parks acquisition fund at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet was not roundly endorsed.

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns refused to support the $2 hike based on the current economic uncertainty and voiced concern over the future of the fund if public support for it dwindles. Sooke Mayor Maja Tait noted the increase in food bank usage in her community and said “some residents cannot afford a cup of coffee,” a reference to a previous comparison of what $2 represents.

RELATED STORY: CRD approves park lands acquisition extension, a $20 levy per household

Langford Coun. Lanny Seaton said rather than spending more on acquiring parkland, the CRD should be looking at ways to make its current parks more user-friendly and increase fire protection within them.

View Royal Mayor David Screech said the parkland acquisition fund has been an “amazing service and an amazing program,” but he cautioned about overburdening taxpayers at a time of crisis. “Never have we not been able to buy a piece of land that staff recommends that we should,” he said.

The $1 increase came to the committee of the whole as a recommendation from the CRD parks committee.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CRDparks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Second driver facing impaired charges after View Royal traffic stop leads to loaded firearms

West Shore RCMP stop swerving motorist and Saanich woman who came to pick her up

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

BC Hydro is reporting several outages in Sooke Monday morning. (BC Hydro/Facebook)
A man was issued a $230 fine after refusing to wear a mask inside a Central Saanich business. (Central Saanich Police Services/Twitter)
Man issued fine after refusing to mask up in Central Saanich business

$230 ticket issued under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

The University of Victoria will mark the eighth annual Giving Tuesday with its Add Sprinkles campaign which collects funds to support various student initiatives across campus. (Photo courtesy UVic Photo Services)
Nearly 150 Greater Victoria groups prepare for eighth annual Giving Tuesday

Last year Canadians raised nearly $22 million in 24 hours

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read