Transit investment key to Metro Vancouver future, conference hears (with VIDEO)

Moving the Future conference hears calls for leadership on TransLink funding question

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson at Moving the Future conference.



A conference on transportation in downtown Vancouver heard repeated calls today for expanded transit investment and leadership from the province to ensure it happens.

Nearly 500 academics, engineers, economists, politicians and others are at the event titled Moving the Future.

Speakers underscored how the future of the economy and the livability of Metro Vancouver is tied to the effectiveness of the transportation network.

Urban Futures demographer Andrew Ramlo noted the Lower Mainland’s population, from Squamish to Chilliwack, is set to grow 56 per cent to 4.3 million by 2046.

If the region doesn’t build more transit and make better use of the infrastructure it already has, he said, “we’re going to end up in a pretty gridlocked predicament.”

High real estate prices are already deterring people and businesses from locating in the Vancouver area, delegates heard, and a failed transportation system will worsen the situation.

The conference came against the backdrop of a looming referendum on transit investment in Vancouver that Metro mayors say risks a disastrous failure that would set the cause back years.

A show of hands in the room revealed the vast majority don’t think the referendum will pass.

The question has not yet been determined by the provincial government, but others in the room saw the gathering as a chance to build an alliance of leaders to campaign in support of the expected vote to raise taxes to build new transit lines.

“This is going to take leadership from the province,” said Michael Goldberg of the Sauder School of Business at UBC.

Goldberg argued the TransLink region should logically be extended east to cover Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

He also said the region has largely failed to densify areas as much as it should near transit lines and elected leaders must not allow decisions to be swayed by “short-sighted” neighbhourhood opponents.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts also both spoke, calling transit investment critical to the region’s future.

More to come

Just Posted

TONIGHT: Team Canada’s road to the Olympic Games kicks off in South Surrey

Team Canada will play Cuba at 7:30 p.m., Softball City

Young South Surrey soccer player follows dream to England

Hugo Patel Thompson, 13, hopes to one day play for Chelsea

City Dream Centres hands out 1,000 backpacks at back to school event in Surrey

This is the fifth year the charity is hosting the event in the city

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Border crossings across Lower Mainland seeing lengthy delays

Sumas, Peace Arch and Surrey-Blaine border crossings seeing long wait times

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

Most Read