I find it strange that Vancouver politicians, past and present, still view themselves as the centre of the universe and whatever is built or done in Vancouver is considered immediately as being good or the delightful local phrase, “world class“. Of course, Vancouver’s internationally notorious downtown Eastside is conveniently forgotten by everyone, throw away people are always conveniently forgotten. This myopic view is leading the region down a dangerous road of high debt and questionable planning practices, yet very little is done and everyone carries on as if they were “the best place on earth“. Those who question the status quo are instantly labeled naysayers and derided. Because of this, those who live outside Vancouver and its environs, refer to the city and its citizens as “Lotus land“.
“In the afternoon they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon.
All around the coast the languid air did swoon,
Breathing like one that hath a weary dream.”
— Tennyson, “The Lotus Eaters”
The unelected METRO Vancouver Regional Board and the similarly unelected TransLink Board, both dominated by Vancouver politicians, have insulated themselves from public scrutiny which has greatly eroded the regional publics faith in the two institutions. What support is there for both METRO and TransLink is swiftly eroding.
There are solutions to alleviate the problems associated with METRO and TransLink, but politicians, ever fearful of loosing political power, reject reform out of hand. In BC, according to the local spin, public involvement diminishes democracy.
Where is this leading………
On September 21, 2010, Rail for the Valley released a ground breaking report for ‘rail’ transit for the Fraser Valley.
Despite wide media exposure, the response from TransLink has been deafening; there has been no response – no acknowledgment of the report by TransLink. This speaks volumes about the planning bureaucrats in their insulated ivory towers on Kingsway; they do not want to address any transit plan other than their own, especially the RftV/Leewood TramTrain Report.
TransLink, which can’t find the $400 million to pay its share for the yet to be started Evergreen SkyTrain light-metro line, is busily planning for a $4 billion subway under Broadway to UBC and a $2 billion plus SkyTrain light-metro extension to Langley! TransLink, refuses to recognize that the same amount of money spent on a light rail construction program would provide about five to ten times more route mileage that what can be had with SkyTrain!
Without public oversight, TransLink’s planning managers refuse to address real transit and transportation problems that have beset the region and spend countless hours, days, weeks (and spending countless taxpayers dollars as well) in the arcane world of light-metro planning and trying convince the public with outright propaganda that the TransLink way is the right way; the only way!
Even TransLink’s ‘trolls of war’ are finding harder and harder to bamboozle the public on various blogs, etc.
Until TransLink is made to plan for affordable transit options, the ponderous bureaucracy will carry on producing one SkyTrain plan after another and the METRO Vancouver region will wallow in traffic chaos, expensive public transit and ever higher property taxes and transit fares without any light at the end of the tunnel.
What politician in BC, civic or provincial, is not afraid to bell the TransLink Cat!
None it seems, except for Mayors Dianne Watts of Surrey and Rick Green of the Township of Langley!
The time has come to speak of many things and leave the city of the Lotus, to dream dreams of SkyTrain and subways; it is time for the South Fraser region to leave TransLink.