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South Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy Undermines BC's Climate Goals

Tom Hackney
Friday, March 8, 2019

Victoria, BC – Victorians for Transportation Choice (VTC) challenges the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to align its southern Vancouver Island transportation strategy with BC’s climate action goals, including legislated GHG reduction targets.

The strategy, announced by Minister Claire Trevena on January 9th and further detailed on January 17th emphasizes addressing traffic congestion and the building of infrastructure projects. It also proposes an immediate process to build an “emergency detour” alternative route to the Malahat highway. The strategy makes no connection to BC’s CleanBC climate action plan or BC’s legislated GHG reduction targets, which include 80% GHG reductions below 2007 levels by 2050.

“VTC wants our communities to shift to more transit, walking and biking, as a means to meet transportation needs, improve liveability and rapidly reduce our carbon footprint,” said Tom Hackney, VTC spokesperson and Victoria Chapter Co-Chair of the BC Sustainable Energy Association. “A back door route to the Malahat highway is far out of touch with BC’s own GHG reduction targets and climate action objectives. It would also spoil wilderness values of the Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park.”

VTC’s aims are aligned with regional priorities. Recently, the Capital Regional District (CRD) board voted unanimously to declare a Climate Emergency, and to rapidly reduce carbon pollution in the region over the next eleven years. Victoria, the District of Saanich and the District of Central Saanich have all adopted targets of switching their communities to 100% renewable energy by 2050. The Victoria Transit Future Plan states: “Major investments in expanding the road network to accommodate the private automobile do not align with local, regional and provincial planning aspirations.” At the national level the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change commits the provincial and federal governments to shift spending towards low carbon transport solutions.

VTC supports the southern Vancouver Island transportation strategy’s intention to create “a roadmap for future investments across all modes of travel.” We will work to ensure that the strategy has a strong focus on rapidly reducing climate pollution, and shifting investment from roadway expansion to transit, walking and biking. A key focus of the transportation strategy should be making travel by transit more reliable, rather than supporting more travel by private automobile. For example, an upgraded Brentwood - Mill Bay ferry could carry many people arriving by bus.

Victorian’s for Transportation Choice ‘s member groups are: Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition; Greater Victoria Placemaking Network; British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association, Victoria Chapter; Walk On, Victoria; Island Transformations Organization and Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria.

Tom Hackney, Victoria Chapter Co-Chair, BC Sustainable Energy Association