How will you advise your constituents to vote on the Transportation & Transit Referendum?
I’ll be letting my constituents know that although I have serious and continuing concerns about this government, the proposed tax, and Translink as a whole, I’ll be voting yes.
We’re facing a climate crisis that requires, in part, mass transit solutions to reduce carbon pollution. We’re also facing a major traffic and gridlock problem across the Lower mainland, and, locally for my constituents, major headaches for bus riders on Broadway.
Unfortunately, the proposed tax and this referendum are poorly planned, and the revenue will go to a broken and wasteful administrator in Translink, an organization that has very limited, if any, democratic accountability. But with all of those negatives, at some point, the Lower Mainland will need to invest in mass transit again, and this referendum is the best current opportunity to demonstrate the public desire for this necessary investment to be pushed forward.
What is the priority in the Mayors package (if any) for your riding?
Transit riders and prospective transit riders in my constituency and outside of it are endlessly frustrated by bus “pass ups” along the Broadway corridor from Commercial Drive through to UBC during peak hours as they try to get to work and school. Air quality for residents along the length of Broadway is badly eroded by the exhaust from an endless back-to-back parade of B-Line buses, and driving is a challenge as these big vehicles often take up two lanes as they maneuver from UBC to Commercial Drive and back. A solution to this problem is long overdue.
However, with any proposed rapid transit solution on Broadway, neighbours in my constituency are very concerned, and rightly so, about the debacle that the Canada Line open trench construction project turned into for businesses there. They don’t want to see their favourite local independent stores wiped out and replaced with corporate chain stores. They’re also worried about Metrotown-style density completely out of character with our existing neighbourhood being used by Translink or others to pay in part for this project through upzoning and tied amenity bonuses. In other neighbourhoods, amenity bonuses for new construction go to community centres, parks, and affordable housing – that should be the case for our neighbourhoods as well. This is a regional improvement that should be paid for regionally.
I’ll be watching carefully to ensure any proposed projects benefit our local neighbourhoods as they’re asked to cooperate and support solving this regional transit problem, and I’ll be sure to let my community know if things go sideways. At this stage, however, I should note that the proposed rapid transit for Broadway in the referendum question would end at Arbutus Street, which is the Eastern border of my constituency. There is currently no proposal to extend any rapid transit from Arbutus to UBC under this referendum question. Despite the limits of the question, it’s hard to imagine that if the referendum is successful that there won’t be a push for extension right out to UBC – it’s better for our community to be prepared than not.
How do you plan to participate in the referendum campaign?
I’ll be doing outreach in my constituency to help inform people about the referendum and how it ties to issues related to congestion, transit and climate change, and to gather concerns from my community to bring forward as the plan proceeds if the referendum is successful.