Friday, October 24, 2008

News From Abby, Chilliwack, Langley and Surrey


Last night I attended the City of Abbotsford Inter Regional Transportation Select Committee (IRTSC) meeting, where we provided comments on a draft report that will most likely be presented to Abbotsford City Council on November 3, 2008 at 1:00pm. I will not comment on this report further, as it has not been received yet by council. I expect that later today, Stephen Rees's blog will have some comments from him regarding this committee and his thoughts on it's function and personalities. I've only attended a couple of meetings while filling in for Nathan, so I look forward to Stephen's comments. He's a good bloke and although I don't agree with him on everything, I greatly enjoy his writing and perspective on the issues. If you are ever blessed with the good fortune to hear him speak, you will also enjoy the way he "crafts" what he says.


John Buker, as well as other members and supports of our good friends at Rail for the Valley were represented at last night's IRTSC meeting. It was encouraging to hear that some new and respected Chilliwack political candidates and others are supporting light rail transit there.

Low and behold in today's Chilliwack Times, reporter Mike Choulnard speaks about community rail and the old interurban. He asks the question as to whether the automobile has brought us progress or a curse.

"The B.C. Electric line, itself, has been credited with opening up the Fraser Valley, but obviously the internal combustion engine and cheap fuel opened the area up even more, something the intervening years have shown isn't exactly progress. I'll be surprised if anyone in the coming municipal elections can really do much to stop the continuing waltz of urban development and its dance partner, the automobile."
"With all the development that's taken place in the Fraser Valley in recent years, it's looking more and more like my childhood vision--dream? nightmare? both?--of one big metropolitan area has come true. With all the blacktop that's been spread though, perhaps the cartographers of the day will replace those old five o'clock shadows on their maps with full, black beards."
Langley & Surrey

While I was working on this post, the Surrey Leader published this Letter to the Editor from a Langley resident that wants to see SkyTrain connect Surrey with Langley. This is the second rebut to the original letter that said that light rail proponents should give their heads a shake because we will basically cause rail accidents. It is interesting to note that the Surrey Leader failed to publish my letter (of two weeks ago) that advocated for light rail transit. Perhaps their editors only favour SkyTrain solutions? This is also the second time they printed a picture of the SkyTrain with the letter. One track mind over at the Surrey Leader perhaps? Perhaps they should give an ear to the new CEO of TransLink who is pro light rail.

SmartGrowth BC and South Fraser OnTrax All Candidates Forum

The Langley Times printed a recap on our All Candidates Forum and provided some quotes from the 16 candidates. Natasha Jones rightly points out that our format was different from others, in that there was no opportunity for all candidates to voice and opening and closing remark. We would have liked to provide for this, but timing was very tight. It would have taken 64 minutes to provide each candidate with a 2 minute open and a 2 minute close. This would have cut into the public questions, which were very important to us. People decided to take 2 hours out of their evening to join us and we wanted to show our appreciation by providing them with an opportunity to air their questions. We would have also liked to offer every candidate the opportunity to answer every questions, but timing precluded that as well. Still, moderator Frank Bucholtz did a great job of keeping it fair and offering equal time.

It was our very first attempt at organizing such a forum and I'm certain we will learn going forward. We have received excellent public and candidate feedback on the event and we were pleased to provide this public service along with SmartGrowth BC.

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