Investments and community advocacy in Saanich North and the Islands

Jan 6, 2024 | Blog, Community

Reflecting on the past six years as MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, I am proud of the advocacy work of our Community Office.

From day one, we created a community-centred approach advocating for constituents who contact us while proactively working to bring people together on important issues to coordinate response and build local resilience.

Following the 2017 election, I contacted Peter MacLeod from MASS LBP. There was much to learn from his early 2000’s work on The Constituency Project, and he was incredibly helpful in sharing what other elected officials across the country did to effectively engage their constituency, and excellent ideas about how I could be connected, and a connector.

My many years waiting tables, and the core training from the Butchart Gardens, inspired our customer service approach. Incoming correspondence is a priority, and we always try to respond personally and promptly to requests for information or advocacy.

Our internal systems have needed better structure, and I appreciate the efforts of William Kelly and Jerram Gawley, who have done wonderful work in renovating our case management processes—improving our service and records management.

I appreciate Laura Parker for taking good care of the details of my life and our community office, Patricia Pearson for thoughtfully managing the steady incoming flow of correspondence, and Jerram Gawley for skillfully navigating challenging advocacy work. Together, we strive to create an open, safe, compassionate, empathetic, and positive problem-solving space.

Investment and Advocacy


Between 2017 and 2023, the provincial government has invested more than $300 million in Saanich North and the Islands.

This includes investments in affordable housing, healthcare, childcare, education, transportation, rural broadband connectivity, COVID-19 recovery, and other capital projects.

The provincial government has delivered consistently, investing roughly $158 million from 2017-2020 (minority government), and roughly $148 million between 2020-2023 (majority government).

I raise my hands to Mayors and Councillors, CRD Electoral Area Directors, Islands Trust Trustees, and their local government administrations, local community groups, and individuals, for their work in community to prepare grant applications, and to effectively administer and steward projects. None of these investments are possible without the community making it a priority.

Unfortunately, the provincial government cannot financially support all the worthy project applicants. We continue to work with proponents to advocate for, and support, their initiatives.


Reporting on our caseload in the Community Office continues to evolve. We will refine our systems, including how we categorize and track constituency correspondence and advocacy, and produce consistent reporting.

October 15th – November 15th
Cases Opened: 37
Cases Closed: 29
November 15th – December 15th
Cases Opened: 57
Cases Closed: 21
Active Cases as of December 15th: 106

YTD Opened: 627
YTD Closed: 411
*Note that not all cases that are open are active. They can also be: Long-term, Waiting on Constituent, Waiting on Ministry, Long-term Advocacy

Assigned: 34%
Long-term Advocacy: 13%
Waiting for Constituents: 36%
Waiting for the Ministry: 8%
Percentage Breakdown on Type of Cases:
Letter: 2%
Inquiry: 40%
Advocacy: 56%

Community Issues Watch List

This is a partial list of the issues we are working on in the Saanich North and the Islands Community Office. It is a sample of the variety of issues we navigate.


  • BC Ferries performance and reliability on all Swartz Bay routes—specific focus on vessel maintenance and staff retention and recruitment.
  • Continued development of the rapid bus transit on the Saanich peninsula. Mt. Newton X Road upgrades complete.
    Fulford-Ganges active transportation upgrades.
  • Road safety improvements on all Southern Gulf Islands—specific focus maintaining centre and fog lines on all major roads as a minimum standard.
  • Fly-over construction at Keating and Highway 17.
  • Ganges Hill road widening and improvement project.
  • Canal Road upgrades on South Pender Island.


  • Saanich Peninsula Hospital overnight emergency room closure.
  • Lack of walk-in and urgent care services across the riding.
  • Shortage of family practice doctors across the riding.
  • Wait times for critical illness diagnosis and treatment.
  • Senior’s respite, bathing, and day care services.
  • Investment in Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Lady Minto Hospital services and staff.
  • Access to mental health services on Salt Spring Island.
  • Community health service delivery on Southern Gulf Islands.
  • Family practice healthcare and paramedic services for Saturna Island.


  • Salt Spring Island supported housing project by BC Housing—specific focus on lack of capacity to support growing unhoused and “extreme core housing need.”
  • Lack of affordable workforce and non-market housing construction.
  • Support non-profit housing providers on Gulf Islands navigate provincial program requirements, bureaucratic, and physical barriers to affordable housing.
  • Supply of housing to address “core housing need.”


  • Management of shipping vessel anchorage sites and Vancouver-Fraser Port Authority.
    Service gaps for growing live-aboard marine community in Ganges Harbour, Tsehum Harbour, Brentwood Bay, and beyond.
  • Administrative processing times for marine permit applications on private docks.
    Fallow deer on Mayne Island.
  • Wildfire risk—specific focus on heavy fuel loads in drought stressed forests.


  • Indigenous language revitalization.
  • Consistent government-to-government consultation and engagement processes.
  • Support for land and marine stewardship programs.

Local Government/Southern Gulf Islands

  • Provincial support for local governance—specific focus on land use and servicing on the Southern Gulf Islands.
  • Funding for local government and infrastructure needs.
  • Archaeological and cemetery spaces on Galiano Island.
  • Broadband connectivity to all communities—specific focus on Galiano, Mayne, and Piers Islands.
  • Advocacy for regional and provincial funding for library services.


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