Friday, November 28, 2008

New Chilliwack Mayor Cautiously Supportive of LRT

The Chilliwack Times reported today that mayor-elect Sharon Gaetz is being cautiously practical in her support for light rail transit in Chilliwack. As many are aware, former Mayor Clint Hames questioned the immediate need for LRT in Chilliwack and felt that because of density and other issues he could not support it at this time.

"Am I in favour? Well, ya, but we need to outline some of the difficulties because each crossing grade costs the city $500,000," she told the Times Thursday.

Another concern she has is that trains would only be able to travel at 50 kilometres per hour over some stretches making a trip to Vancouver about three hours, something RFV says is untrue if rail upgrades are completed.

That and the fact that parking and transfer stations would have to be built and at least some would be on farmland."

-- Mayor-Elect Sharon Gaetz

But people in the Fraser Valley are very supportive of light rail. The BC government through the Ministry of Transportation has agreed to study it. Even today's Langley Advance published a letter from TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie which rebuts a previous letter from Malcolm Johnston. Hardie ends his letter by saying,
"...SkyTrain, while proven to be an extremely efficient way to move large numbers of people, is not in any way, shape, or form assumed to be the only choice. Indeed, we join with many, including Mr. Johnson, in believing that LRT's time has come."
For the record we here at South Fraser OnTrax would like to say:
  1. We are supportive of a study that is professionally managed by a firm with good credentials, and which is fair and reasonable. We trust that older data will be reviewed, but will not form the entire basis for the results.
  2. A professional study is what any prudent business or government manager would do. You do not embark on projects in the millions of dollars without a proper study and accounting for an order of magnitude budget for your project. To do any less is failing to exercise fiduciary responsibility on behalf of the taxpayer, and would amount to political suicide.
  3. Rail advocates MUST realize that any system be designed with passenger safety as a hallmark. Safety systems cost money and are not thrown together overnight.
  4. Proponents must be open to alignments that make technical and practical sense. The communities along the routing must examine their current and future density and advocate for an alignment that meets these needs.
  5. Finally, we must remain open-minded and supportive of refined recommendations from the experts. We must put aside suggestions of conspiracy theories and act on the facts.
We congratulate Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz for her rational and prudent leadership. It is very apparent to us that Mayor Gaetz is embarking on her new role in a very professional and purposeful manner.

1 comment:

Light Rail Guy said...

Ken Hardie's letter, which was printed in the Langley Advance was full of half-truths and un- truths. The problem TransLink faces is the tidal wave of support in the Fraser Valley for light rail.

This also happened in the Tri-Cities, as even Port Moody voters voted for LRT instead of SkyTrain, in a referendum, 3 years ago!

Gerald Fox's letter, shredding the SkyTrain Evergreen Line's business case is also causing TransLink headaches. Widely circulated, this letter shows how "TransLink has used this cunning
method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor
after corridor, and has thus succeeded in keeping its
proprietary rail system expanding."

The RAV/Canada Line lawsuits are also causing great concern to TransLink as their anti-LRT rhetoric will be up and centre in the court cases! If the court finds for the plaintiff's, then serious questions will arise about TransLink, their planners and spin doctors!

Hardie's letter shows desperation and cunning, but the Light Rail Guy has seen it all before, with the RAV and Millennium Lines. Hardie & TransLink know this and continue their program to hinder and nay-say LRT.

Just keep up the good work as taxpayers in the Fraser Valley are beginning to realize that TransLink's 'transit speak' is nothing but smoke and mirrors.