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

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Free pads, tampons now available in Surrey school washrooms

Menstrual products previously given out to students upon request

Surrey student selected as Loran Award recipient

Award is valued at $100K over four years of undergraduate studies

‘Coldest Night’ walk in Whalley aims to raise $25K on Saturday

Live music, food and commemorative toques attract teams to national event held annually

Former Cloverdale church elder pleads guilty to sexual assault

Brian Batke, 73, entered guilty plea Feb. 14

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

UPDATE: TransLink gets injunction ahead of pipeline, Indigenous rights protest

The protest rally is in opposition to the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipeline projects

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Mysterious bang booms over Sumas Mountain once again

Police unsure of source, quarry companies say, ‘not us’

Most Read