The BC govt recently announced a regional transportation strategy/study for southern Vancouver Island.

They will be looking at transit and roads, cycling, rail, marine, and even pedestrian traffic.

This is long overdue for our region. Housing affordability often depends on density, which is largely dependent on efficient transportation.

A good transportation strategy should identify future areas for high density housing as well as protecting environmentally sensitive areas.

A successful strategy will also depend on cooperation from 13 municipalities in the CRD, each with their own mayor, council and community plan.

Combined, our region of about 380,000 residents is large enough to attract provincial and federal funding for initiatives like LRT. 

For example, Calgary started Light Rail Transit in 1980 with a population similar to ours today. Now they have a population of more than a million, and the LRT has been an essential part of their planning.

The LRT was possible because Calgary has a ward system – a form of amalgamation, which helped secure funding.

Small communities still exist, but as part of a single municipal council, where councilors work together.

Locally, we don’t have amalgamation, however a recent referendum supported studying unification between Victoria and Saanich.

Perhaps the transportation strategy will start the regional planning similar to an amalgamated community.

Time will tell.

We do know that sustainability for our community relies on our managing the rising costs of transportation and housing.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist newspaper.

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