What’s top of mind for Iain Black (president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade), writing in Business In Vancouver, when he reviews 2016 and scopes out 2017?
Why, it’s transportation. And a big focus on the rapid kind.
A few months later, we released our landmark study, Greater Vancouver Economic Scorecard 2016, which measured our region against 19 other metro areas – our competitors – across the globe. ….
Scorecard 2016 taught us that our region’s transportation challenges are exacerbating housing affordability, undermining our ability to attract top-end talent and hampering our role as Canada’s Pacific gateway. Fortunately, this past year was a pivotal one, in which all three levels of government have taken steps to help alleviate congestion after years of under-investment in transit and transportation.
One of the key steps forward for our region was the roll-out of Phase 1 of the mayors’ 10-year vision, along with TransLink galvanizing its support around the leadership of its new CEO, Kevin Desmond. After three decades of planning, the long-awaited Evergreen Extension opened in 2016, connecting the downtown core with residents and businesses across the region.
These major breakthroughs all required a strong regional voice; a voice made up of local governments, community organizations, business groups and the public. This single voice can only be achieved through co-operation and a vision that rejects the pseudo-mercantilism that has plagued our region and by embracing the idea that what is good for one municipality is good for our region as a whole.
True global cities think regionally to attract the best people and investors, and it is time Greater Vancouver did the same. 2016 was a first step in the right direction.
As we move into 2017, we have even more crucial decisions ahead of us. Phase 2 of the mayors’ plan, a crucial provincial election and the destiny of the federally proposed Canadian infrastructure bank will all be important crossroads that determine our region’s future.