Monday, May 10, 2021

Spring Metro Vancouver Council of Councils Meeting: Budgets, Metro 2050 Regional Growth Strategy, TransLink’s Transport 2050 Strategy

Twice a year, elected local representatives gather for a Metro Vancouver Regional District Council of Councils meeting. During the meeting, we hear updates from regional district staff and have the opportunity to ask questions of regional district staff.

On Saturday, around 120 local representatives attended a Zoom meeting.

I virtually attended Saturday’s Metro Vancouver Council of Councils meeting.

Regional district staff noted that the 2021 operation budget is $939.5 million, with the loin’s share of expense for water and liquid waste services. The capital budget for 2021 is $1.5 billion, funding significant wastewater treatment plant new-builds and renewals. The capital budget is funding by a combination of operation budget contributions, developer charges, and debt.

Staff also noted that they are continually looking to find new revenue streams and cost-saving opportunities. For example, they said selling natural gas as a byproduction of liquid waste management is a new revenue stream.

Metro Vancouver’s Climate Action Committee chair presented roadmaps for our region to become carbon neutral by 2050. One of the direct actions that municipalities can take is to adopt higher steps of the BC Energy Step Code. Metro Vancouver will encourage all municipalities to adopt Step 4 or 5.

I posted the transportation and housing updates for Metro 2050, the region’s proposed updated new regional growth strategy, last week. Regional district staff highlighted Metro 2050, including:

  • Creating a compact urban area
  • Strengthening the Urban Contain Boundary by focusing growth in urban centres and transit corridors
  • Protecting industrial land, local food production, and food security
  • Protecting conservation and recreation land
  • Protecting, restoring, and connecting ecosystems throughout the region by ensuring 50% of the region is natural areas
  • Reducing GHG emissions through land-use and settlement patterns.
  • Expanding the variety and supply of housing
  • Increasing affordable housing with a focus on affordable housing near transit
  • Supporting sustainable transportation choices like walking, cycling, and transit

Metro Vancouver staff stated that housing affordability is still the most significant concern among elected officials.

TransLink is also working on Transport 2050, which is the region’s transportation strategy. TransLink and Metro Vancouver staff are coordinating both Metro 2050 and Transport 2050.

The goals of Transport 2050 are to increase convenient, reliable, affordable, safe & comfortable, and carbon-free transportation options.

The plan has the following goals:

  • People take 50% of all trips by walking, cycling, or transit
  • People spend 20% less time stuck in congestion compared to 2019
  • People spend no more than 45% of their income on housing and transportation
  • There are no serious traffic injuries or fatalities, with reductions every year
  • By 2030, transportation-related GHG emissions will be cut in half and be zero in 2050

TransLink is making a big push for Vision Zero and slower streets in Transport 2050. TransLink staff also noted that they are looking at interregional rail to Squamish and the Fraser Valley in Transport 2050.

On autonomous vehicles, TransLink will be pushing a car-sharing model; otherwise, if we all own autonomous vehicles, there will be a massive increase in congestion.

Metro Vancouver staff noted that they are improving public notification and alerting around the Cleveland Dam and the Capilano River.

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