BC Urban Mayors’ Caucus sends letter to party leaders about top priorities

THE BC Urban Mayors’ Caucus Co-Chairs Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran announced on Tuesday that they have sent letters to provincial party leaders asking for a meeting to discuss the top priorities outlined in their Blueprint for British Columbia’s Urban Future.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran Photo: City of Kelowna

They said in a statement: “Today we are releasing a letter we sent to all party leaders yesterday, as a follow up to our Blueprint for B.C.’s Urban Future that we released last week.
“We ask the party leaders to respond to our four priority areas for the upcoming election:
“* mental health, substance use and treatment;

“* affordable housing;

“* public transit; and

“* a new fiscal relationship with local governments.

“The 13 mayors in the BC Urban Mayors’ Caucus represent nearly 2.8 million British Columbians – 55 per cent of the population of the province – many of whom share the priorities we’ve laid out. We look forward to receiving responses to the questions on our four priority areas so we can share them with our constituents, who are also provincial voters.”

The letter addressed to BC NDP Leader John Horgan, BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau:

Thanks so much for your service to British Columbia. 

We are writing to you on behalf of the B.C. Urban Mayors’ Caucus comprised of 13 mayors from British Columbia’s urban areas. Last week we released a “Blueprint for British Columbia’s Urban Future” which we have attached here for you. 

In this election, we are asking all parties to commit to working with leaders from B.C.’s urban communities to address the issues we face today, while we plan for restored prosperity and the growth expected when we eventually emerge from the pandemic. 

We would like to meet with you to discuss our top priorities outlined in the Blueprint. Please contact dstjacques@victoria.ca to set up a meeting. We also request that you answer four questions in writing so that we can share them with our constituents, your voters. 

We represent nearly 2.8 million British Columbians – 55 per cent of the population of the province – many of whom share the priorities we’ve laid out and have a keen interest in your answers to these questions: 

1. What is your plan to immediately address the mental health, substance use and lack of available treatment in our communities? 

2. How will you address the affordable housing crisis in our cities – from keeping low-income seniors housed to addressing homelessness, and everything in between?

3. What commitments can you make in response to our requests with respect to public transit recovery and expansion?

4. How will you work with local governments to reform the antiquated local government finance system that sees local governments overly reliant on property taxes and unable to deliver the services and projects required for cities in the 21st century? 

 Please send your answers to mayor@victoria.ca by Monday, October 12. We will share them with the public on the following day so our residents and business owners can make an informed choice when they go to the polls, a choice that will focus on cities and their future. We also wanted to let you know, in the interests of transparency and in the spirit of partnership, that we will be releasing this letter publicly on October 6 so that we can keep our residents and businesses in the loop about our advocacy work. 

We look forward to hearing your answers and to working with you and your MLAs after the election in a renewed partnership that will deliver a strong recovery for urban areas and the province as a whole, and a resilient, more equitable future for all.


  1. Meanwhile, BC’s second largest, and by far fastest growing city- Surrey… and its neighboring (similarly rapidly growing) “South of Fraser” cities (the 2 Langleys and White Rock) continue to be without a network of SkyTrain lines linking these (SOF) cities’ town centres and commerce hubs- in blatant contradiction to the Metro Vancouver Regional District’s land use planning policies and directives…

    … resulting in the SOF sub-region being far less attractive to potential investors and businesses than Metro Vancouver’s “North of Fraser’ sub-region and its extensive network of 4 SkyTrain lines (Expo, Millennium, Evergreen and Canada Line SkyTrain lines) , and the West Coast Express heavy rail line…

    Appallingly, both the BC Libs and BC NDP campaign platforms evidence intentions to, if elected to form the next BC Govt, continue their decades of outrageous neglect of and prejudice towards Metro Vancouver’s SOF sub-region… by providing $$ Billions to pay for construction of a sixth legitimate rail rapid-transit line for the NOF (phase 1 of the $8.5 Billion “UBC Line” subway project)…. while continuing to provide ZERO $$ to pay for the building of a NETWORK of SkyTrain lines in the far more needy SOF sub-region…

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