SFU transit dialogue aims to educate, engage and find funding solutions

SURREY — Those interested in learning more about transit and its future in the region can attend an SFU-hosted forum this Tuesday.

Led by Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, the forum will act as a launch event for Moving in a Livable Region, a new initiative designed to engage and educate citizens and stakeholders on transportation issues.

This forum, called Beyond the Politics: The Benefits of Moving in a Livable Region, will touch on the transportation referendum poised to take place in the province, with the goal to work together with business, government and transportation leaders to create a long-term sustainable funding regime for the region.

“We want people to be able to weigh the odds, look at the issues and we recognize it isn’t an easy field. It’s difficult. How do you fund transportation?” said Shauna Sylvester from SFU’s Centre for Dialogue. “Investing in transportation is an issue that almost every major metropolitan area is dealing with. So we’re not alone. But the good news is we can look to others to see how they’ve done it, and we’re also going to be featuring those.”

The forum is set for April 8 from 1 to 2:15 p.m. in room 3310, The Now Newspaper Theatre, at SFU’s Surrey campus.

Sylvester said the goal is to educate the public with facts and clarifications about transportation in Metro Vancouver, with a focus on how transit is currently funded and the economic implications of transit policy.

The panel at the event will feature Anita Huberman, CEO of Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey Coun. Barbara Steele and Sylvester, with executive director of SFU’s Surrey campus Stephen Dooley moderating.

The all-female panel will discuss how the current transportation network can adapt to Metro Vancouver’s projected regional growth over the next three decades, and will look at issues from a south of the Fraser perspective.

Sylvester said with the sheer amount of information – and politicizing – floating around about transportation issues, it’s easy to get lost in the noise.

“Moving in a Livable Region wants to provide clear information on what’s going on in transportation – evidence-based information,” Sylvester said. “Moving in a Livable Region is a place that you can go to to find really fast facts about what’s going on in transportation and concrete information that is not clouded by the politics of the situation.”

Sylvester said she, like many others, is eagerly awaiting the announcement of what the transit referendum question will be, which is set to be included on the ballot as part of the Nov. 14 municipal elections.

“It’s really difficult to embark on an educational campaign when we don’t know what the question is going to be for the referendum. You don’t know how broad or narrow it’s going to be. Our interest is educating residents of the Metro region on the gamet of issues relating to transportation at this stage. As the referendum question becomes known, we can get much more focused in the kind of educational information we can provide because we’ll be much more targeted.”

For more information, visit movinginalivableregion.ca.

areid@thenownewspaper.com.

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