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

Just Posted

Chilliwack Rotary club reports $4,200 theft at storage shed

Rotary Train Shed adjacent to homeless camp on reserve land broken into Oct. 15

UPDATE: Chilliwack mother issues plea for info on missing son

Informal search party organized for 13-year-old boy not seen since Thursday

Husband pleads guilty in relation to 2009 killing of Kulwinder Gill

Abbotsford woman died in hit-and-run conspiracy

More roundabouts slated to be built in Chilliwack

Art or trees in roundabouts as visual obstructions makes them safer, according to safety experts

‘Devastated’ mom says 14-year-old Surrey overdose victim loved being with friends

Video of Heaven Donnelly’s overdose was circulating on Instagram, according to mother

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

VIDEO: Body discovered at scene of dumpster fire behind Langley City mall

Area behind furniture store taped off after firefighters find deceased woman while battling blaze

5 to start your day

Sentencing in murder of Surrey teen expected, Maple Ridge mayor to step away from politics and more

B.C. woman plagued by bedbugs on airplane not surprising, says expert

Heather Szilagyi was on a British Airways flight when she noticed bedbugs crawling out of the seat

Most Read