Eric Zhelka

Running for Oak Bay Council

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

Transit, roads, and traffic management need integrated planning to achieve reduced emissions. I believe a Transportation Authority replacing the Regional Transit Commission at the CRD is the most appropriate level of government to address this need. This would full active transportation issues to be worked on across the Region in a coordinated shared way. I believe pressing the E&N Rail line back into service is very important to not only reduce total energy use and emissions from transportation, but also, with this rapid transit, make more affordable housing available across the CRD.

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?

While a CRD Transportation Authority would be expected to deal with this, I believe we could also ensure car share programs be added in all multi-family developments to make car ownership less necessary. And, once the density supports it, suitable rapid transit would help to reduce the need for car ownership.

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?

Absolutely, especially if the E&N Rail line was pressed back into service.

Do you support making walking safer and more enjoyable in Oak Bay?

Absolutely, our Asset Management plan was very clear on what priorities to spend. I’d like us to move up the priority on our Village Revitalization plans as well.

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

Asset management and village revitalization.

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

Where the size of the road allows it and the primary users are expected to be children, yes – as our budget permits.

Do you support building a protected bike lane on Cadboro Bay Rd to connect to Ecole Willows School?

Yes, after the bike lanes on Cadboro Bay between Foul Bay and Bowker, the next project should extend this up to Willows. Staff and budget will help determine the design.

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?

Only if the density/usage warrants it.

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

Yes, absolutely. The Province and the Feds must support us rejuvenating this line – it was, after all, part of BC’s Terms of Union with Canada.

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

Electrification of transit is the most effective way to reduce pollution/energy use. So, yes, I would support this. I would expect a CRD Transportation Authority would deal with this.

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

No, I would always insist that the community participate in an engagement process first.

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 turn to two books for ideas when necessary with questions such as this: 1) The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs – one of my heroes as I was able to work with her on neighbourhood preservation projects in my youth in Toronto. 2) A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, by Christopher Alexander. This amazing book and the OCP are my city building Bibles.

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