Council for Canadian Urbanism issues open letter supporting yes vote in transportation plebiscite

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      The Council for Canadian Urbanism released the following letter today:

      The Council for Canadian Urbanism (CanU) is a national non-profit information and advocacy group incorporated in 2009. CanU was founded by and includes many of Canada’s leading urban experts, from the fields of city planning, urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, transportation, community development and related disciplines.

      We are writing to add our voice to the many organizations, leaders and citizens who are supporting the proposed Mayors Council Transportation and Transit Plan, and a “Yes” in the related Plebiscite. CanU does not generally take positions on local issues in city-building, however we occasionally provide a position or perspective on issues facing a particular city-region that also have implications for other cityregions across Canada. Given the tremendous challenges in achieving successful public transit and transportation planning, and related funding, that are faced by every city in Canada, and further given the fact that this is the first transportation plebiscite that’s been held in the Country, we believe that the quality of the related conversation, and the resulting outcome, is of national interest and will have national implications.

      CanU does not support the use of plebiscites or referenda for decision-making in complex issues such as transportation planning or funding. However, given that the B.C. Government has chosen to launch such a plebiscite around transportation, CanU believes it is crucial for the future success of the Region and Province that its citizens choose to vote “Yes.” A “Yes” means Metro Vancouver will improve significantly in mobility, and will continue to grow in a way that provides smart, sustainable and responsible choices and options for future generations and for the future economy. The negative consequences of a no vote would be tremendous for the local Region and Province, and we believe would also be significant for regions across Canada struggling to develop sound plans for funding much-needed public transit investment.

      Metro Vancouver has been a model for smart transit-supported planning and design for the rest of the Country and internationally for many decades. Despite this, Metro Vancouver still faces many significant transportation challenges: roads are congested, transit struggles to meet current and growing demand, and people and goods struggle to efficiently move throughout the region. The effects of this traffic congestion affect more than just mobility – it critically affects the Region’s economy, environmental sustainability, social equity, affordability, and public health. In short, it hinders the Region’s success and its citizen’s choices.

      The best way to address these mobility challenges is to fund smart public transit investment, while also making decisions, both land use and transportation-related, that support more inviting movement choices through transit, walking and cycling. Given the million plus more people expected to come to Metro Vancouver in the coming decades alone, the failure to strategically invest in public transit and smart mobility would be a huge blow to Metro Vancouver’s ability to address its many needs successfully.

      The Mayors Plan, though not perfect, is an excellent package of improvements to position the Region for greater success. Further, the proposed sales tax funding source, though also not perfect, is a reasonable and effective solution to the local circumstances that addresses the usual “regressive” weaknesses of sales tax tools in an overall progressive way (we would encourage the Province to continue to improve the tool by seeking to further adjust the goods and services affected that are particularly important to low income families).

      Previous generations of BC and Metro Vancouver leaders made smart choices to invest in public transit in key moments like this, and the current generations of citizens have reason to be very thankful for those past decisions. Those decisions also powerfully inspired cities across Canada to learn from Metro Vancouver’s good example, and to do better themselves. Now it is this generation’s turn. We have been very impressed with the unprecedented common ground of over a hundred organizations, from all perspectives, political stripes and areas of interest and expertise, in support of a “Yes” vote.

      We are hard-pressed to think of similar cases in Canada where this has occurred. We are honoured to join that coalition of voices, who are championing a more successful Metro Vancouver, and by extension, a more successful family of Canadian cities. We remain hopeful that a successful outcome in B.C. will have positive repercussions in cities across our Country.

      Yours respectfully,

      The Council for Canadian Urbanism Board of Directors




      Mar 13, 2015 at 10:54am

      So that's urban planning experts, police, firefighters, transit experts, doctors, business groups, environmentalists, trade unions, and student groups on the "yes" side.

      And on the "no" side, you have.... Jordan Bateman, the car lobbyist! Oh I'm sorry, I mean "taxpayer advocate."

      Seriously, folks. Why is this subject to a referendum?

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      Mar 13, 2015 at 11:09am

      You can vote which ever way you please, but the scene is set, the game is rigged folks. There is no way, after all this effort, Mayor Robertson is about to announce a 'No' victory.

      "All the votes have been counted and it seems we have lost... Hmm... Okay... Everyone back to your lives now. Nothing to see here. Thank you for your time."

      You never see that from a politician. Mark my words, the 'Yes' vote will win and there will be a bunch of smiles and 'high fiving" going on.

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      James Blatchford

      Mar 13, 2015 at 11:18am

      J.M.T. - ridiculous comment and you know it.

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      Just sayin'

      Mar 13, 2015 at 11:56am

      “So that's urban planning experts, police, firefighters, transit experts, doctors, business groups, environmentalists, trade unions, and student groups on the "yes" side. “

      The “business groups” are just businesses that sell services to other businesses. They don’t speak for anyone but themselves. The rest are just your typical left wing hacks who make a living from pigging out at the public trough. Maybe we could afford better Transit if those selfless groups weren’t constantly extorting the public.

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      Buddy Green

      Mar 13, 2015 at 12:56pm

      Come up with a plan to restructure Translink and then I will consider "Yes". Until then, I can't trust that this money will be spent wisely.

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      Yeah Right

      Mar 13, 2015 at 1:00pm

      So Translink wants even more of our money because they PROMISE to do better.

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      ANOTHER "Open Letter?!?"

      Mar 13, 2015 at 1:06pm

      Why bother doing it when all one needs to do in know the name of whichever group or individual is issuing the letter to know the contents. Gee I wonder where the Fraser Institute stands on this, or the Broadbent Institute or the Canadn Taxpayers Federation or the student organizations stand on this issue....oh wait I don't because I know without having to check. These groups have their conclusions reached on every issue before any "research" is done, they are three to reinforce the stimulus response of their respective herds from left to right.

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      Mar 13, 2015 at 1:41pm

      Tampons will cost more money.
      Toilet paper, pet food, clothes, shoes, pretty much everything you'd ever want to buy will cost more money. More money out of the pockets of every single person in the province. And for all that we'll have a big hole down Broadway for a few years putting more businesses out of business. And the bad spending of Translink will go on and on and on.

      I don't recall as much desperation from any side in any voting situation as we're seeing coming from the yes side on this issue. I suspect it's because deep down every one of them realizes how utterly unreasonable a yes vote would be.

      PS. I live in the city and I'm completely reliant on transit. I'm voting no and it has diddly to do with anyone else the media tags as a representative for the no side. I just don't expect everyone else to wring their hands and do with less because I ride crowded buses.

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      Mar 13, 2015 at 1:59pm

      Metro Vancouver is expensive to live in, but it's where the most jobs are. An increased tax in the Metro Vancouver area will only add to how difficult it already is to live here if you aren't paid the big bucks, and surprisingly, not everyone here makes the big bucks.

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      Mar 13, 2015 at 10:27pm

      Council of Canadian Urbanism is the latest " Yes'ers Authority" to chime in for the Yes vote for the MetroVan mayors' council - Transklink transit ploy. It positions the already non-sustainable unaffordable diminutive SW corner of Mainland BC for further explosive growth. And it hinges upon continuously unending matching funding in the billions from Victoria and Ottawa as if MetroVan was the only concern provincially or nationally on everyone's radar. How righteously self-centered and selfish internalized navel gazing. And the remainder of the province, those other BC communities, townships, smaller cities + British Columbians in dire need to basic infrastructure upgrades and additions plus improved amenities to nurture sustainable growth outside of MetroVan province-wide, a sidebar forgotten afterthought. What I see here is a cabal of politicians, bureaucrats, special interests circling the wagons - selective groups profiling and elitists social engineering.

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