Karen Harper

Running for Saanich Councillor


What would be your highest priorities in the next four years to reduce the total energy use and emissions from transportation?

Given Saanich’s sheer size, my priority is continuing to work to improve, strengthen, and expand transit services. It is critical that we also push for a Regional Transportation Authority that actually has the power to oversee and effect regional change. Otherwise, disparate approaches across the region will impede progress.

Over the next 4 years, would you support increasing the space for walking, biking, and public transit and reducing that for private motor vehicles in your community? How would you do that?

I would support and push for improved transit as a first priority. I support a system that accommodates all forms of transit, including cars. It is important to note that given Saanich’s size and age demographics, cars are not disappearing, so the increased use of electric/hybrid cars is positive. I am an avid cyclist who biked to and from work in both Vancouver and Victoria for 15 years. In improving space for walking and biking, we need to be careful that these changes do not exacerbate traffic problems by increasing car traffic on secondary connector roads. I support the use of secondary roads for biking as connectors to main bikeways and leveraging existing infrastructure, such as Lochside Trail.

Would you actively encourage the provincial government to prioritize public transit, walking and biking infrastructure over roadway expansion projects such as the proposed interchanges on the Pat Bay Highway?

I would prioritize public transit improvements and push for an effective regional transportation authority.

Do you support making walking safer and more enjoyable in Saanich?

Yes. Sidewalks (and the lack thereof) have been an issue for many residents for a very long time.

What specific policies, projects and expenditures would you support in the next four years to make walking safer and more pleasant in Saanich?

Saanich’s Active Transportation Plan provides an excellent starting point and the project identified the priorities that need to be supported.

Do you support building a community-wide network of all ages and abilities (“AAA”) bike routes in the next four years?

I believe that using secondary roads that connect to major trails is an approach that can help us achieve a network much faster and at a more reasonable cost.

Do you support building a protected bike lane on Gorge Rd?

I am willing to consider this, but it needs to be carefully assessed, not only in terms of relative priority, but also whether there are other, alternate routes or secondary roads options available.

Would you support completing the 24/7 bus lanes along the Douglas Street/Highway 1 corridor, as well as along other routes such as the Pat Bay Highway as a high priority for municipalities and the BC government in the next four years?


Would you support keeping the E&N railway as a railway and actively campaign for electrified passenger and freight services?

While I am supportive of this, my first priority in the next four years is improving bus transit. This is an issue that would be better dealt with by a regional transit authority.

Would you support and actively campaign for street-level electrified rapid transit in the greater Victoria region? If so, along what routes

First we need to improve and increase the usage of the current transit system, and then it would make sense to look at the case and route for ERT.

In the next four years, would you support removing the requirements for off-street vehicle parking from new and infill developments?

Where developments are near transit and/or major centres, I am in favour of significantly reducing the requirements for off-street parking, and have already voted as such on several projects brought to Saanich Council over the last 10 months.

In the next four years, how, would you activate and bring more people into public spaces within your municipality, including sidewalks, public squares, streets and parks?

I believe that we need to work to create more vibrant community centres and villages to achieve this goal. A good example of a liveable and welcoming space is the Selkirk Waterfront. It is an excellent mixed use area that has all of the above features and through its design, it encourages people to use the space by walking, gathering, biking and visiting. The just approved proposal for the Nigel Valley uses a very similar template and has the potential to create a wonderful gathering place near a major centre. 


Bill Craig · September 28, 2018 at 9:39 pm

At a recent all candidates meeting inGordon Head Karen Harper stated that bicycles did not belong on Shelbourne St and that cyclists should use Richmond or Cedar Hill. This would appear to completely undermine the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan which Saanich recently adopted after many years and hundreds ofparticipants in the consultation procèss . The entire so called United for Saanich slate, of which she is a part,should be asked if her comments reflect their views.

Bill Craig · September 29, 2018 at 8:07 pm

At an all candidates meeting in Gordon Head Karen Harper stated that she did not think that bikes belonged on Shelbourne and cyclists should use Cedar Hill or Richmond. This idea was discarded for good reason fairly early in the multi year planning and consultation process for the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan. Is she implying that the SVAP should be repealed? Hundreds of us participated in the surveys and open houses for the plan, and the final version only had 21% of participants opposed.
Maybe it would be well to check the positions of the other Atwell acolytes running with her on the slate

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