Monday, October 6, 2008

Green Candidate Patrick Meyer QA

This is part three of a series asking two simple questions to Langley federal candidates. You can read part one and part two in previous posts. Here is the response from Green Party of Canada candidate Patrick Meyer.

1. What will your party do to improve public transportation in the South of Fraser Region?
Earlier this month the local papers asked the candidates what they thought were the three biggest current issues. My response included the following:

Top local issue 1 - Traffic congestion
Most Canadian cities are build in a way that demands long commutes and much congestion on the roads. Though traditionally Langley had been self sufficient, the new development style is leading to traffic congestion. Commutes to other cities for work, shopping and recreation are becoming unbearable.The Green Party would provide funding to reshape our cities to promote sustainable development leading to reduce car dependence and less driving needed. Funding would also be made available for light rail transit and a dependable and convenient bus system to all major centres throughout the Fraser Valley.

Top Issue 2 - Sustainable Infrastructure and Development
There hasn't been appropriate investment into infrastructure or planning of development in Langley. Langley's character is being stripped away by rapid unrestricted development at the cost of our rural character and natural beauty. Nothing has been done to make up for the expansion of train service to and from the expanded Delta Port. We need significant and immediate investment into changing the route of commercial rail traffic, public transportation, wastewater treatment, parks, roads and water supply. The Green Party would provide zero-interest loans to municipalities for low-carbon emission and community promoting infrastructure.

2. Does your party support the restoration of the Interurban Rail Line?
Yes, we are in favour of interurban rail. Whether this takes the form of restoration of the old line or the creation of a new one would depend on their viability. But it is clear that investment into rail transit is necessary and desirable from a economic, social, and environmental sustainability perspective.There is a limitation on what the federal government can do with regards to public transportation as it is a municipal, regional, or, in our case, a provincial issue. The Green federal government would, on the other hand, create a financial climate in which social and environmentally sustainable initiatives become more economically sound as well. The first thing which should be done is eliminate perverse subsidies to oil, coal, and gas. The next step is to choose what should receive federal funding. This should be based on the degree to which the infrastructure contributes to our country's sustainability. I wouldn't, for example, grant money to an overpass on 204th, which is Mark Warawa's pride and joy. This is very expensive short term thinking. We need to move the freight rail traffic out of town. Especially when we know that the volume of traffic will be increasing. Spending money on transit is a good investment. Translink has done only a partial job on setting up a bus system south of the Fraser. By providing sub-par service they have ensured that the transit system is not convenient to use and, therefor, not used by vary many people. We need a full bus system which runs more often and with more direct routes. A Green government would make funding contingent on providing a full transit service. But what we really need to see happen in Langley (and other communities throughout Canada) is a more conscious planning of our communities. Planning that would allow people to live and work in the same area, would allow people to walk and bike to work, shopping, and recreation. Planning that is people-centric, not car-centric. We need smart sustainable communities.

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