Friday, April 24, 2009

Election Series – Part Three

Today we will be hearing from the BC Liberals’ Fort Langley-Aldergrove Candidate Rich Coleman. I posted part two of this series yesterday.

What will your government do to promote sustainable community design?
There has been no bigger booster for sustainable communities than Premier Gordon Campbell.

The BC Liberals, under Premier Campbell’s leadership, want to see sustainable, livable, compact communities. We changed the building code to allow six-storey wood frame buildings to spark more density in neighbourhoods at a lower cost than concrete towers. We invested $40-million into 122 Local Motion projects to support projects that promote physical activity, a reduction in car dependency and associated greenhouse gas emissions, and increase mobility for seniors and people with disabilities.

We are the first province in Canada to legislate hard targets for greenhouse gas emissions, including a 33 per cent reduction by 2020. This will quickly influence the way communities are planned and built. Our government made British Columbia the first jurisdiction in North America to legally require all government ministries, agencies and Crown corporations to be “carbon neutral”, by 2010. We also required all local governments to be carbon neutral by 2012, another way of influencing local design. Our carbon emissions tax encourages people to save money by adopting cleaner, more environmentally-friendly lifestyles.

Premier Campbell’s record on sustainable community design goes back to his days as Mayor of Vancouver. Under his leadership, Vancouver became one of the most livable cities in the world, an example held up by urban planners. As chairman of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, he led the Lower Mainland in developing and adopting the all-important Livable Region Strategy, which enshrined the concepts of an urban growth boundary, smart growth principles, and other important actions.

This work must continue. Under the BC Liberals, the provincial government will continue to develop and fund new programs to encourage people to live a more sustainable lifestyle. We will continue to help municipalities with the resources they need to properly plan their communities. See for more on our work making communities sustainable.

What will your government do to get light rail and other forms of alternative transportation built in the South of Fraser?
Planning sustainable communities and adding transportation options go hand-in-hand. We need a re-elected BC Liberal government to continue the work that has been started in transportation. It is our goal to double transit ridership by 2020 to more than 400 million trips a year. This means funding and finishing the Canada, Evergreen, and UBC SkyTrain lines, and improving the Millennium and Expo lines. It means building a new Port Mann Bridge to allow reliable transit service on Hwy. 1 for the first time in a generation.

Locally, it means adding RapidBus lines along 200th Street and Highway 1. When the new Port Mann Bridge opens, you will be able to take a bus from Langley to Lougheed SkyTrain station in 23 minutes. We see these RapidBus routes as the first step toward building the ridership necessary to add light rail on those routes. Streetcars use a lot of the same infrastructure as RapidBus, so we have that option in the future. A major transit station and exchange is planned at the Hwy. 1/200th St. interchange, which will serve people going north-south via the Golden Ears Bridge and east-west on the freeway.

By the end of 2009, our major Fraser Valley transit study will be complete. I am looking forward to seeing the recommendations out of that study. I personally believe that light rail could be an important component of the south Fraser’s transportation system going forward, but we must do our due diligence, work on business plans, and ensure it will be successful for the people of Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford and beyond. I also believe that this transit infrastructure will help communities like Langley continue to densify and spark transit-oriented development.

We also remain committed to investing in bike lanes and bike locker facilities, improving SkyTrain security, building necessary road infrastructure to keep our economy strong, and pursuing our $14 billion provincial transit plan. No other party has the breadth of vision we have for transportation—or the ability to create and lead an economy strong enough to pay for this infrastructure. Our plan will reduce provincial transportation greenhouse gas emissions by 4.7 million tonnes by 2020—equivalent to parking all cars and light trucks in Metro Vancouver for one year. For more on our transit plan, visit

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