Central Saanich politician passes on free parking offered by City of Victoria

Central Saanich Coun. Zeb King says Victoria should explore other options instead of providing local politicians with free parking, a policy he calls out of step with the times.

Elected officials dealing with duties in Greater Victoria, including Capital Regional District directors, MLAs and MPs, are eligible for parking passes from the city.

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King, who attends meetings at the Capital Regional District building, 625 Fisgard St., as a member of the Greater Victoria Water Commission, says he never asked for his pass.

“It just comes in the mail every year. It’s not useful to me and I’m going to turn it in. It just seems counter productive to what they’re trying to do with bike lanes and other issues.

“I’ve received the pass over numerous years and while I appreciate the sentiment, I take the bus to work downtown and have no use for the pass,” King says in a letter to Victoria council.

In his letter, King suggests the city consider discontinuing provision of the parking passes for elected officials and instead look at alternatives “such as providing bus tickets, a U-Bicycle credit or a taxi chit which might all support your progressive reputation.”

King’s comments come on the heels of those raised last month by Victoria Coun. Geoff Young during Victoria council budget discussions.

Young said that, given Victoria council’s vocal support of a number of environmental initiatives such as opposing the Trans-Mountain pipeline, councillors should walk the talk and forgo their city-issued parking passes.

Young, who often cycles to work, proposed eliminating parking passes for councillors.

Instead, councillors asked staff to report back on the financial implications of eliminating parking passes as part of a review of council remuneration. That review was moved up to this year from a proposed 2020 date.

In his letter, King said it was time to write to formalize concerns that he’s shared with some Victoria council members at water commission meetings about the parking pass .

In 2014, CRD directors saw their downtown parking privileges, which included free street parking, pared back to parkades only.

Victoria, which has taken positions on several environmental issues, is on record as opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. In 2016, both Mayor Lisa Helps and Coun. Ben Isitt testified at a National Energy Board hearing saying an oil tanker spill off the coast of Victoria could result in significant harm to the community.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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