Saanich councillor and Capital Regional District director Ned Taylor wants the CRD to consider expanding its engagement with and local government education opportunities for area youth. (Black Press Media file photo).

More engagement with youth could bring fresh ideas to CRD: Saanich councillor

Young politician provides a good example of youth leadership in the region

Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor has been a young leader in his community for some time.

He’s volunteered for environmental initiatives, community organizations and political campaigns in the past. Today he is an active Capital Regional District director who sits on two boards and four CRD committees – he chairs the solid waste advisory committee and co-chairs another for environmental services.

He was elected to council in 2018, a year after graduating from Reynolds secondary, and these days is frequently the youngest person around the board table. That’s part of the reason he wants the CRD to expand on its connections with local youth and young adults.

RELATED STORY: Saanich’s 20-year-old acting mayor encourages other young people get involved in politics

Taylor envisions the CRD partnering with public, private and tribal schools and post-secondary institutions to provide valuable educational opportunities for students and young working people, which could include such things as job shadowing or creating a youth advisory group.

“Young people in our region and our public schools do not have the opportunity to learn about local government in their curriculum,” he told the CRD’s governance and finance committee during a presentation at a Sept. 2 meeting.

“We have a lot of talented and smart young people in this region who, I think, are excited to get involved in new work environments, excited to learn about government and to change things and to put forward new ideas.”

He pointed to the work Victoria is doing with its youth council, not only in providing opportunities for its members to get involved and become young leaders in their communities, but to share youth perspectives with city council on important issues.

“I’m excited to learn about what my peers are doing in this region, some of the work they’re doing, some of the things they’re learning about,” Taylor said. He added of the CRD, “I think we would actually benefit from having new fresh perspectives and young, new ideas in our organization.”

ALSO READ: Saanich wins award for climate plan cut from 2020 budget

While the CRD does not have a specific committee relating to youth and educational activities, it engages frequently with area youth through its delivery of parks, recreation and culture programs, and initiatives such as the active school travel planning.

Committee members from Sooke and Central Saanich also pointed out that their councils engage directly with school classes, hosting mock council meetings and other educational events.

Taylor’s motion asking staff to explore youth engagement opportunities within the CRD, including consideration of collaboration with secondary and post-secondary education institutions and municipalities, passed. No date was set for returning to the committee with new information.

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