Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 report fatally flawed (E Murphy, Vancouver Sun) — funding model, land-use planning strategy take power away from municipality

Caption: This map of rapid transit station areas and corridors appears in Appendix A of the City of Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 Report to Council of Oct. 30, 2012. The final report map defines rapid transit station areas and future rapid transit corridors, covering the majority of the surrounding neighbourhoods for potential transit-oriented development. This was not in the draft for consultation.

Transportation 2040 report fatally flawed : Both the funding model and land-use planning strategy take power away from municipality

This story appeared on 21-Nov-2012 as an op ed in the Vancouver Sun, written by Elizabeth Murphy, an urban affairs commentator. Read full story here. Some of the main points are summarized below, with excerpts italicized. See bottom for recommended actions by MetroVanWatch.

  • The City of Vancouver recently approved the city staff policy report on Transportation 2040. Although presented as a transportation policy document, it is in fact the long-term land-use plan that will direct future development and inform the upcoming regional context statement required under the regional growth strategy.
  • Murphy writes that although public transit is an important part of the city’s infrastructure and needs to be expanded, Vancouver’s transportation policy has been transformed into a development regime and cash cow for TransLink at city taxpayer expense. She says that Transportation 2040 is not about transportation, affordability or environmental sustainability. It is creating a provincial tax grab on civic taxpayers with a complicit city hall that is not looking out for the civic public interest. It is actually a “horrific” land-use plan with provincial override of civic land-use authority.
  • The article then goes into detail about two aspects of the plan: The “Hong Kong Model” of transportation/urban development being applied now in Metro Vancouver, and (2) transit policy as land-use policy.
  • She outlines how in order to use development to fund transit, the province intends to gain control of civic land-use authority. Gregor Robertson’s Vision council, like Sam Sullivan’s NPA council before them, are working together with the BC Liberals to implement this Hong Kong model.
  • As part of their plan, Campbell created TransLink with a board made up of unelected provincial appointees who replaced elected civic councillors, brought in legislation to replace the regional plans, and brought in legislation enabling TransLink to use development to fund transit under the Hong Kong model.
  • In July 2011, the Livable Region Strategic Plan, a strongly supported regional plan that prevented urban sprawl through protection of green zones, was replaced with the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). The RGS allows Metro Vancouver, TransLink and the province access to municipal land-use authority tied to transit while weakening green-zone protection for increased industrial and urban sprawl.
  • Murphy outlines the bait and switch tactics being used to force the public to accept Transportation 2040.

She concludes:

  • …. the unspoken but well-understood reality is rapid transit is so expensive it will cannibalize all potential for funding of civic amenities from development, while creating additional costs to be subsidized by city taxpayers.
  • The city and province have been working toward this horrific end ever since the Campbell Liberals took power, without general public awareness, meaningful consultation or legitimate consent. Vision’s Transportation 2040 is not looking out for the civic public interest. Allowing transit to be hijacked by other interests will not work to the city’s long-term benefit.

Read the full story here in the Vancouver Sun. Some of the main points are summarized below.

SUGGESTED ACTIONS (MetroVanWatch):

  1. Write media owners and chief editors telling them you want their papers and stations to investigate this story in more detail and to provide accurate and balanced reporting.
  2. Ask your BC provincial MLA to look into the matters raised, particularly in connection with the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy. Remind them that a provincial election is coming soon.
  3. If you are a citizen of Vancouver (and even if you are not), tell Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Council (mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca) you thing the city should re-open Transportation 2040 for public consultation. The Vision Vancouver Mayor and five of his Vision Councillors hold all six director seats representing Vancouver on the Metro Vancouver (GVRD) board of directors, and therefore wield considerable power in the region. It is valuable for them to hear from citizens around the region, even if not paying taxes in Vancouver. If you travel through Vancouver, you are affected.

RELATED REFERENCES (not included in print or online version in the Vancouver Sun.)

“Vancouver Transportation 2040” – Final Oct. 30, 2012
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20121030/documents/rr1.pdf

(This article’s original map can be accessed from this link.)

Vancouver Sun – Translink’s $1.5B real estate empire (19-Mar-2008)
Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority is launching a real estate division that could produce up to $1.5 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, modelled on an agency that has reshaped Hong Kong
.

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/story.html?id=e30465a4-f77a-400a-88b9-dd0722f1b559&k=44798

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