Tri-Municipal Council Meeting Hosted by Central Saanich

This week's Tri-Municipal Council Meeting (between North Saanich, Central Saanich and Sidney Mayors and Councils) was hosted by Central Saanich Mayor Jack Mar and his Council and highlighted by two key presentations, one by Karen Morgan, Board Chair of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation and one by Dick Faulks of Island Transformations, a group promoting light rail transit on the South Island.

Both presentations, recommended to the Tri-Municipal Council by North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall, demonstrate the importance of local community support and commitment, particularly in the case of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

Facts About Our Local Community Hospital Foundation
- First opened as an extended care facility in 1974
- Acute care introduced in 1977
- Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation was created in 1985 and has grown to 14 Directors and 2 staff, with revenues of about $2.5M in 2008 - a streamlined and well run operation that is ahead of most Canadian health charities on returns on the dollar
- Raising funds essential and occurs through annual campaigning, major gifts and planned gifts
- Fund-raising helped to support major projects and improvements for the ECU (extended care unit), a new CT scanner and OR and OR 2 (operating rooms), representing a combined total of more than $4.0
- Projects pending include a new hospital chapel and further operating room renovations
- Karen Morgan closed her presentation by stating that the wonderful support the Foundation receives from local governments, Rotary Clubs and other groups, organizations and individuals demonstrates "that this hospital is needed, wanted and supported by the community."

I asked if and when the Saanich Peninsula Hospital might have full digital mammography for Saanich Peninsula women who must now travel to either the Mammography Clinic on Richmond Road in Victoria or to Victoria General Hospital at Helmcken -- Karen Morgan agreed to bring this item to the Board for consideration. Naturally, there would be a substantial cost involved in obtaining the best equipment to provide the best mammography possible but I feel it's worth a try. If you share my thoughts about providing full and permanent mammography services at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, please contact Karen Morgan and the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation to express your support. Thank you.

Island Transformations -- Future of Light Rail Transit on Southern Vancouver Island
- Did you know?:
- increasing price of oil will negatively impact food growing and limit our access to food from other parts of the world (transportation);
- lives will change and so will transportation;
- 885 acres of farmland on Vancouver Island is lost every year.

- How do we sustain a rural lifestyle, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our dependence on oil and the costs of transportation? -- LIGHT RAIL TRANSPORTATION
- 1996 saw the first regional study sponsored by BC Transit on the viability of LRT for this region
- 62 rails systems in North America are either being established or contemplated e.g., Portland, Oregon is cited as a strong model for successful application of LRT
- A recent proposal for the South Island focuses on the West Shore, with a regional rail line to downtown Victoria and enhancement of the E&N up island -- the larger concept is one that divides the CRD into 2 regions, with a central rail station built at Six Mile that would route to downtown Victoria and out the Peninsula -- a West Shore commuter rail system can be built for $16M and another $7M over 7 years -- a cheaper alternative than, for instance, the Malahat Study that suggested a $1.2B price tag for a bridge across Finlayson Arm
- LRT is cheaper, more efficient, less polluting and encourages less dependency on automobile transportation
- A Community Liaison Committee has now been established to explore regional rail and a new plan for the E&N -- consistent with the CRD's current targets for long term GHG emission reductions across the region
- "Start with something..."
- To learn about leading edge thinking and planning for LRT, please visit Island Transformations at

Other Meeting Highlights
Central Saanich Councilor Alistair Bryson proposed exploring a new program to address youth crime in our communities, titled "Positive Ticketing." The program currently operates in Richmond and is getting positive results from both law enforcement and youth themselves -- it involves police officers ticketing youth for their positive behaviour and activities; the ticket may involve a free pass to the local recreation centre, movie theatre, etc. The program attempts to reinforce positive relationships between the community and youth and raise awareness about the positive contributions youth make to their communities. Central Saanich Councilor Adam Olsen supported this idea, suggesting that First Nations would appreciate input into such a proposal. Everyone agreed that this is something worth discussing with local police and the matter is now referred to the Peninsula Task Force for further discussion, an action-oriented sub-committee of the Tri-Municipal group. Stay tuned.

Central Saanich Councilor Alistair Bryson suggested that the three municipalities should focus on a big "splash" event to launch the opening of the new Panorama Pool expansion and to promote the opening in some special way. Municipal Peninsula Recreation Commission (PRC) representatives are asked to take this suggestion forward to the next PRC meeting.

The 2010 Olympic Torch Relay occurs October 30, 2009, with the torch actually landing in North Saanich first. There was discussion about how the three municipalities could plan some type of recognition event as the torch passes, ever so briefly, through each of our communities. This could be an opportunity to showcase the new pool at Panorama. VANOC will also provide guidance and assistance to communities interested in event-planning, although it seems clear that VANOC will take the lead on any planning. Everyone agreed that involving local communities in this exciting event is important so this topic was referred to the Task Force for further discussion and brainstorming.