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VBOT shares regional transportation vision with Mayors' Council

May 29, 2014

The Vancouver Board of Trade has sent a letter to Mayor Richard Walton, Chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, outlining a number of priorities for the movement of goods and people throughout Metro Vancouver.

The letter, which was sent by Board of Trade President and CEO Iain Black, aims to “assist the region’s Mayors in the preparation of a regional transportation vision.”

Included in the letter is “The Vancouver Board of Trade’s Principles for Regional Transportation,” a list developed by volunteer members of the Board’s Metro Vancouver Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Read the full text of the letter below, or download the PDF here.

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His Worship Richard Walton,
Mayor & Chair, TransLink Mayors’ Council
c/o District of North Vancouver
355 West Queens Road
North Vancouver, B.C.
V7N 4N5

Dear Mayor Walton:

Re: Mayors’ Regional Transportation Plan

Thank you for taking time recently to present to The Vancouver Board of Trade’s (the “Board’s”) Metro Vancouver Regional Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The committee recognizes your busy schedule and sincerely appreciates your participation.

As you may know, the Board has effectively engaged on issues important to our Members, our region and our province for more than 127 years. Whether it was the Board’s strong advocacy for the Canada Line or the devolution of YVR, the hundreds of active volunteer Members on our policy committees proudly and actively help shape public policy at every level of government, every year.

To assist the region’s Mayors in the preparation of a regional transportation vision, our volunteer Members on our Metro Vancouver Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have developed The Vancouver Board of Trade’s Principles for Regional Transportation for your consideration (below).

Once the Mayors have developed their transportation plan for the region, the Board hopes the Mayors position it as a “draft” plan that then goes to the public and stakeholders for consultation. A comprehensive consultation and engagement process prior to finalization of the plan will allow for communities and stakeholders to engage meaningfully in the plan’s development.

The Board is also hopeful that the Mayors’ vision will materially reflect the priorities we have submitted, and that the Mayors consider our organization a strong ally in navigating to a successful result in the 2015 referendum. We recognize Metro Vancouver’s population will grow by an estimated I million people over the next 25 years and believe collectively, we have the generational opportunity to invest in the future livability and economic well-being of our region.

In summary, The Vancouver Board of Trade will take an active role engaging in the dialogue and discussions anticipated in the months ahead. We are fully committed to the efficient movement of people and goods as a crucial cornerstone of our regional economy. We look forward to potential collaboration with the Mayors’ Council to achieve such mutually desired outcomes.

Yours truly,

Iain J.S. Black
President and CEO, The Vancouver Board of Trade

The Vancouver Board of Trade’s Principles for Regional Transportation

  • The quality of life, and the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Lower Mainland depends on efficient, effective and coordinated integrated land use and transportation planning.

The Board wants to ensure that the Mayors’ Regional Transportation Plan objectives recognize the need for, and include in their planning, integrated transportation and land use planning across all levels of government, and that they also reflect the region’s international, competitive position as Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway. Specifically, “we need a transportation plan, not a transit plan developed in isolation”.

  • The movement of goods, services and people is critical to the quality of life, business competitiveness and economic and social future of families and businesses in the Lower Mainland.

The Board would like “movement of goods”, a key economic factor, included in the Mayors’ plans, and seeks their support in ensuring other levels of government recognize this in their transportation planning, as well. If this understanding is not achieved, the Board would support the Province taking responsibility for the Major Road Network to ensure that necessary infrastructure projects are completed, coordinated and managed, for the greater good of the region (e.g., United Boulevard Extension).

  • Public transit is a key component of integrated planning and housing affordability in the Lower Mainland.

The Board wants to ensure the Mayors’ Plan recognizes the importance of an expanded regional transit system to the overall regional economy. By building and operating an excellent public transit system, employers can access a wider pool of employees, employees can access more job opportunities, families can deal with housing affordability challenges by living with one less car, and productive and busy people can save time by having a fast and reliable alternative to sitting in traffic.

  • The “elephant in the room” for the development and implementation of integrated land use and transportation planning is how is funded, and (more specifically) who pays.

The Board needs a clear understanding of what realistic funding mechanisms the Mayors’ would like to consider in order to achieve sustainable, long-term funding to address the regional transportation growth initiatives needed for Metro Vancouver and its municipalities. Such mechanisms must demonstrate a fair and equitable balance between all system users, residents and stakeholders of the region. The business community needs a voice during the decision making process and must be meaningfully consulted.

The Board also requests that Mayors explore innovative funding options to increase new or existing transit capacity through development contributions. New large developments adjacent to existing or future transit corridors will dramatically drive transit demand and these developments should be contributors to investments needed to meet increased usage. As an example, targeted development contributions should be considered in advance of ambitious plans to invest in rapid transit along the Broadway corridor and in Surrey.

  • We’re all in this situation together: governments, communities, businesses, and families.

As an organization that represents the men and women who make the job creation and capital investment decisions and whose employee base accounts for a third of BC’s workforce, the Board seeks the Mayors’ engagement with us on a regular and ongoing basis, including in the strategic planning process. The Board believes it important to increase engagement moving forward, and notes that the precedent for this relationship and two-way communication goes back a century, to the direct benefit of all citizens and businesses in Metro Vancouver.

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