Last Thursday, I attended the first CARP meeting for Langley and Abbotsford and had a chance to mingle at the end of the event. Here are some random observations from the evening.
It was interesting to note that the same things that the Baby Boomers or Zoomers will require to age in place are exactly the same places that my generation, the Millennials, want to live. More and more boomers are looking to move from single-family homes to strata living in areas which are close to services, cultural, and recreation that are easy to access by walking or transit. I know that many see Boomers as the ones that will kill Old Age Security and drain our economy in their old age, but I’m starting to think that maybe the Boomers may be the catalyst to finally make the last big push away from our sprawled, auto-oriented suburban regions back to something more urban and sustainable.
While I was at the event, a woman came up to me and talked about how she felt that Vancouver was unfairly getting the majority of infrastructure money in the region while the South of Fraser was being left out to dry. I can’t blame her for thinking that way especially when you look at what is going on. Take the Olympics for example, the South of Fraser got barely a drop of money from that major infrastructure project while money rained upon Vancouver. More recently when it came time to chop transit investments, it was the South of Fraser that saw its service pulled. Wouldn’t it have been interesting to see the Evergreen Line being canceled and transit service investment in the South of Fraser proceed? I think that politicians should be on the lookout for Boomers hitting retirement and wanting a more urban lifestyle. As I heard at CARP, they were the activists in the 1960 – 1970’s and they aren’t afraid to vote and lobby until they get their way today (unlike my generation.)
Finally, I had a chance to talk with someone who worked for the Ministry of Transportation back in the day when it looked after ferry service, roads, and public transit. Apparently the system worked well, but Bill Vander Zalm “threw the baby out with the bath water” when trying to clean up bureaucracy in the 1980’s and started splitting things up. This continued into the NDP era. What we are left with today in Metro Vancouver is an “independent” BC Ferries, “independent” TransLink, and the Ministry of Transportation which all seem to be stepping over each other. Meanwhile, the Province still has its fingers in all the agencies. Since the Province will never give up control of transit, ferries, or roads maybe it’s time they all go back under MoT control like in the 1980’s. At least there would be more accountability.
This post has gone all over the place, but I was really encouraged to see that both the older and younger generations are looking towards the same future.