Former premier’s foresight needed today

Bill Bennett would never have accepted the cheap-as-possible, at-roadway-level rapid transit system that is currently proposed for Surrey.

Today’s political leaders would do well to take lessons from the ambition and responsible foresight of the late Bill Bennett.

With only a little political effort, the positive derivative benefits to Greater Vancouver, and to B.C. and Canada generally, resulting from the province hosting Expo ’86 and the building of SkyTrain rapid transit lines could be replicated in Surrey.

The industrial park wasteland where Surrey borders the Fraser River and New Westminster would be ideal as a world exposition site.

Afterwards, this area could be re-developed with mixed-use highrises and parkland, emulating Vancouver’s downtown business district and Coal Harbour, thereby reducing the region’s housing shortage and attracting corporate head office clients, along with hi-technology design, research and development firms.

Bennett would never have accepted the cheap-as-possible, at-roadway-level rapid transit system that is currently proposed for Surrey – effectively buses travelling on rails run along already busy roadways. Bennett would demand a rapid transit system for Surrey that would be perceived internationally as a world beater – and certainly no worse than the 30-year-old, but still excellent, above-the-roadway Skytrain.

The first step would be for the B.C. government to work with the new federal government to reinstate Canada as a member of the Bureau of International Expositions – the body that awards international expos to countries – by paying the $25,000 annual fee the previous Conservative government reneged on, starting in 2012. Following this, on behalf of the City of Surrey, B.C. should submit a bid for a future exposition.

Ridiculous? Impossible? Insurmountable? Maybe that’s what some would have thought in the 1980s.

Bill Bennett clearly didn’t, and we are all beneficiaries as a result.

 

Roderick V. Louis, White Rock

 

Just Posted

Over-budget bids cause delay of four Surrey school projects

Two projects have gone back out to tender, two awaiting ‘revised budget approval’ from Ministry of Education

Fees ensure patients have access to parking at SMH, FHA says

Fraser Health Authority hasn’t heard yet from city hall about pay parking at Surrey hospital

Free hospital parking a non-starter in White Rock

City considering task force to look at parking generally – Walker

Surrey memories: How the ‘IGUISBCSIR’ Facebook page became a hub for anecdotal history

Former Whalley resident Wes Mussato launched the group in 2011, 11 years after he’d moved to Ontario

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read