Good morning! I’m Nathan Pachal.
I grew up in the Okanagan, but when I was a kid, my family would spend a part of each summer in Surrey and Vancouver. I remember using BC Transit buses from Fraser Heights to Guildford, then onward thru Whalley to catch the SkyTrain into Vancouver. I thought Metro Vancouver transit was the best thing ever.
If you’ve ever seen the 1980s propaganda created for SkyTrain’s launch, this is exactly what I thought of BC Transit in Metro Vancouver back in the 90s.
When I’d get back to my own town of Vernon, I wished that our crappier version of BC Transit could be even a little bit as awesome as the Metro Vancouver system. I remember wanting a train that connected Kelowna and Vernon, but I digress.
I lived in Calgary for a bit, but moved to Surrey in 2003 when I got my first job working for a TV station that was located along the Langley Bypass near the Cloverdale/Langley City border. I quickly moved to Langley Township before settling down in Langley City.
Three things came together which caused me to become a bit of an activist for building an accessible region.
The first was a serendipitous encounter with the book Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream at Powell’s Books in Portland.
The second was one of Gordon Price’s famous lectures on motordom.
And the final piece was the provincial government’s announcement that they were going to widen the Highway 1 corridor from Vancouver to Langley which included the massive Port Mann Bridge.
For most urbanist and planner types in this region, the City of Vancouver is their frame of reference. 80% of the conversations about urban issues seem to centre on the City of Vancouver.
As someone who’s lived experience of this region includes the South of Fraser, I find this disappointing. About a quarter of the population actually lives in the City of Vancouver. More people live in the South of Fraser. This is one of the reasons why I started the South Fraser Blog back in 2008. I believe that how we build the South of Fraser has more of an impact on the future success of our region than how we continue to build the City of Vancouver.
Over the coming week, I hope to bring a difference cadence to Price Tags, and show you why I believe the South of Fraser is key to the continued success of the livable region.
PS: I’m running in the City of Langley By-Election for a seat on Council. You should check out my election site.