Shutting the Gateway?

The New Democrat's provincial council has endorsed a resolution calling on the party to "oppose the Campbell government's "╦ťGateway Program'," Public Eye has exclusively learned. The resolution, which was passed at a closed door meeting on Saturday at the Empire Landmark Hotel, also calls on the party to propose an alternative to the government's highway expansion initiative. That alternative plan would see a "major expansion of public transit, including the long delayed rapid transit Evergreen Line and very significant improvements to bus service south of the Fraser River." And it would commit the New Democrats to "maintain the integrity of ALR lands, protect Burns Bog, and respect the spirit and letter of the Livable Region Strategic Plan." Party transportation critic Maurine Karagianis hasn't yet returned a call placed late yesterday. The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned resolution.

THE GATEWAY PROGRAM
Submitted by: SCOE; SCOA
Date: August 24, 2007
WHEREAS the Campbell Government plans to impose on the Lower Mainland a vast agenda of highways, bridges and port expansion that it calls "The Gateway Program;" and

WHEREAS "The Gateway Program" will twin the Port Mann Bridge and double the width of the Trans-Canada highway between Langley and Vancouver, thereby promoting increased suburban sprawl throughout the Fraser Valley; and

WHEREAS "The Gateway Program" includes a route for the South Fraser Perimeter Road that will pave 260 acres of prime ALR farmland and further compromise the integrity of Burns Bog; and

WHEREAS "The Gateway Program" undermines, nullifies or reverses:
* planning goals of municipalities of the Greater Vancouver Regional District,
* the GVRD "Livable Region" plan, including its commitment to densification and program of rapid transit facilities between compact communities,
* the protection of farmland as required by the Agricultural Land Commission Act,
* the declared goal of the Liberal Government to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and
* the protection of Burns Bog as committed to by the Campbell government; and

WHEREAS "The Gateway Program" will:
* promote rapid urban sprawl in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley,
* encourage increased automobile travel,
* promote truck transport at the expense of rail,
* increase greenhouse gas emissions, airborne pollutants and smog in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley,
* reduce biodiversity of highly productive delta lands and foreshore, and jeopardize habitat for millions of migratory wildfowl,
* destroy shallows at the mouth of the Fraser River essential to migrating salmon, and
* eliminate choices from future generations by locking in unsustainable transportation and urban development patterns; and

WHEREAS independent studies demonstrate that increasing road capacity does not reduce congestion over the long term, but actually generates more car and truck traffic; and

WHEREAS the Port Mann/Highway 1 expansion components of "The Gateway Program" proposed by the Campbell government are opposed by the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the majority of individual municipalities within the GVRD, and many citizens' groups throughout the region; and

WHEREAS "The Gateway Program" will be a public-private partnership (P3) , thereby resulting in higher costs, reduced public accountability and increased private control of public transportation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the BC NDP oppose the Campbell government's "Gateway Program"; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the BC NDP propose an alternative to "The Gateway Program," that reflects the principles of Sustainable BC, with specific emphasis on the principles of:

Ecosystem Protection: As the life support system for all species including humanity, the environment must not be subjected to pollution or other degradation of air, water or soil beyond that which can be safely absorbed or renewed by nature;

Protection for the "Commons:" Shared public trusts like water, air, fish and wildlife; our heritage of parks and protected areas; cultural and intellectual assets; and amenities such as health care, education, public utilities and infrastructure, must be held and managed in the public interest over and above any private or individual interests;

Food Security: A protected agricultural land base, environmentally sustainable farm practices and economic viability for food producers will result in more healthful food for consumers and increased local and provincial food self-sufficiency, which is essential for a sustainable society;

Full Cost Economics: Short and long term environmental, social and economic impacts need to be taken into account at both the local and the provincial level. This requires true costs to be accurately reflected in the price of all goods and services in order to discourage pollution and resource waste, and encourage innovation, socially and environmentally responsible behaviour, and true progress toward sustainability;

Just Transition: Mechanisms must be in place to manage the transition toward Sustainable BC so that everyone takes responsibility and no one bears an unfair share of the burden of change; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the BC NDP alternative to "The Gateway Program" be grounded within a comprehensive transportation demand management (TDM) strategy that includes, but is not limited to, the following elements:

- Fundamental commitment to maintain the integrity of ALR lands, protect Burns Bog, and respect the spirit and letter of the Livable Region Strategic Plan;
- Major expansion of public transit, including the long delayed rapid transit Evergreen Line and very significant improvements to bus service south of the Fraser River;
- Defined shift away from single-occupancy automobile travel, utilizing a variety of TDM tools such as public demand management tolling, reduced-cost bus passes and congestion charges to reduce traffic during peak periods based on the principles that a) all fees collected through TDM measures go to accountable public agencies to be used to fund sustainable, publicly operated transportation alternatives; b) any tolling be system-wide and used to reduce overall single-occupancy vehicle traffic, not simply to pay for specific transportation projects; and c) just transition strategies be implemented to minimize impacts on those affected by new TDM measures;
- Sustained investment in cycling infrastructure to promote cycling as a viable alternative to automobile travel throughout the Lower Mainland;
- Shift in emphasis away from truck transport towards an integrated rail-focused system for shipping goods and linking suppliers with the port system; and
- Publicly owned, built and operated transportation system that is subject to full-cost accounting analysis of all projects to determine true environmental, social and economic benefits and costs.
cope15

17 Comments

Well that Resolution could lead to political suicide...

The complete opposition to Gateway, which includes:

1. Port Mann Bridge twinning/ Hwy 1 expansion;

2. South Fraser Perimeter Road;

And I also assume the North Fraser Perimeter Road, which includes the current Pitt River Bridge 7-lane replacement;

I will again reiterate the conceptual plans for today's Gateway were laid during the NDP's tenure during the '90's.

They should have read Sunday's Province article whereby 65% of population growth within the next 25 years will be in Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, and Coquitlam. That's another 500,000 people in those areas.

And yes, the Evergreen line is needed and so is the Skytrain Millenium extension to UBC, the Skytrain Expo extension to Guildford...

Watch the polls for a period after this resolution becomes party policy and is vetted by the mainstream media.

It is political suicide. A complete endgame.

I don't suppose one needs to ask who authored this resolution. It would undoubtedly have been David Chudnovsky and Shane Simpson.

The previous poster asks a good question about the NFPR and the Pitt River Bridge, already under construction. What is the party's stance on that project? Will the Pitt River Bridge project become a tolled route?

It's about time they took a stand. Now, time to kill the Gateway project.

Just when you think Carole James has plumbed the depths of the asinine, she ceases to amaze and ventures even deeper.....

Twining the Port Mann is necessary...Gateway in it's entirety is necessary.

Someone wasn't paying attention when the teacher was speaking...she expects Moms in caravans to bus their children into Vancouver for soccer games, after school outings, etc? She expects people to take the grimy, crime-infested SkyTrain with their kids in tow? Not a hope. I recently took the SkyTrain from downtown YVR to Surrey Station out behind the Lions' facility. it was worse than I thought. You could smell dope in the car and their was a broken needle in the corner across the aisle from me, with graffiti all over the damn place. Welcome to the streets of New York, circa., 1980. Who the hell wants that? It's broke, and needs fixing...

Dunce-cap for Carole, almost equal to Stephane's, but not quite.

Halleleuah. Finally the people of these poor beleaguered communities have some elected political leadership.

This is the best news British Columbia has heard in 8 years.

" ... she expects Moms in caravans to bus their children into Vancouver for soccer games, after school outings, etc? She expects people to take the grimy, crime-infested SkyTrain with their kids in tow? Not a hope. I recently took the SkyTrain from downtown YVR to Surrey Station out behind the Lions' facility. it was worse than I thought. You could smell dope in the car and their was a broken needle in the corner across the aisle from me, with graffiti all over the damn place."

You make an excellent point, Tsakumis, ... in sharp contrast to your non-contributions on the subject of the Vancouver civic employees' strike.

Note that none of the urban disamenities you mention is found on the WCExpress service, and that is the one service that Translink is in no hurry to expand and which is officially denounced by all the self-appointed, supposedly environmentalist, Westside transit advocates and commentators.

These people, who are really fronts for various entrenched real estate interests despite the phoney enviro-cover, denounce the WCExpress as an instrument of "urban sprawl". What they mean is that it's too good and too classy a service for second class suburbanites, and what's more, it could help, along with a good freeway system, to a more competitive and lower priced real estate market.

The Gateway project is not only unnecessary but would have irreversable impacts to our Agriculture lands, our wildlife habitat, our livability, Green space, Air quality, and species at risk.
The supposed $4 Billion dollar price tag, that the Liberal Government's own studies show will actually be 7 to 10 Billion in 2006 dollars, is a collosal waste of money and resources to expand DeltaPort and its truck routes.
This is not about commuters.

Now that the Port of Prince Rupert is up and running the need for DeltaPort expansion is gone, and with it, the South Fraser Perimeter Road.
Spend the money on a proper transit initiative and don't fall into the 'more roads' trap.
All of the other cities that have tried to build their way out of congestion have found it only leads to more congestion.

"The supposed $4 Billion dollar price tag, that the Liberal Government's own studies show will actually be 7 to 10 Billion in 2006 dollars, is a collosal waste of money and resources to expand DeltaPort and its truck routes.
This is not about commuters.

Now that the Port of Prince Rupert is up and running the need for DeltaPort expansion is gone, and with it, the South Fraser Perimeter Road."

I sure would like you to specifically point out the government's "own studies" vis-a-vis those cost estimates.

Furthermore, the SFPR will provide long-awaited free-flow connectivity between Hwy 1 and Hwy 99, important for cross-regional travel... the ferry terminal, YVR, etc.

Roberts Bank Deltaport and the Port of Prince Rupert are all vying for the same container trade traffic with Sea-Tac and LA/Long Beach.

There is enough business for everybody. Delta Tory MY Cummins also seems to be part of this anti-port/anti-SFPR thinking.

Thank goodness that these people are in the minority.

Mr D. W. Hunt, you're quite wrong on all counts, as I think you know.

Gateway is indeed necessary and was identified as such in both the GVRD's LRSP and the NDP Govt's 1995 transportation plan. The LRSP endorsed both the NFPR and the SFPR, while the NDP Gov'ts plan saw the need for a second Port Mann Bridge and widening Hwy 1. The GVRD yakked about tolls, but had no intention of doing anything, that would be someone else's job.

Gateway will not put any pressure whatsoever on agricultural lands, unless the public want's it to.

The only point where you are partly right is that the SFPR, which has been endorsed by the City of Vancouver and Burnaby in their anti-Gateway resolutions, does involve a loss of agricultural land and some impingement on Burns Bog. Mitigation measures will need to be found. Note though that the mendacious anti-Gateway crowd, especially local politicians representing entrenched real estate interests and being very protective of their munipality's share of the industrial and commercial tax base, continue to focus their opposition on Port Mann, which has no environmental consequences, rather than on the SFPR. That's because the enviro rhetoric is just a big excuse for them to oppose a set of highways that primarily benefits others, and poses a small risk to some of their customary privileges in terms of property prices and shares of tax revenue.

I guess all those Commercial Drive area renters are the real estate interests who oppose Gateway for their own financial gain.
The public wants better public transit but instead the trucking industry gets a free gift. Who's to say the ALR is safe if the public wants it to be?

The NDP haven't a clue about Gateway, Transit, or anything else regarding public transit. Neither do the Liberals for that mater.

Those who want the Millennium Line extended (via a subway) to UBC, well that's about $3 billion. The Evergreen line, another boondoggle is $1 billion. RAV is now at $2.4 billion and climbing. who the hell is going to pay for all this?

"I guess all those Commercial Drive area renters are the real estate interests who oppose Gateway for their own financial gain."

You know something, Ron van der Eerden? People who own homes, duplexes and apartments along the Drive are just as pleased with themselves, and with the huge, nontaxable capital gains they are accumulating in their principal residences, as people who own property in Kits and Point Grey. Of course, they don't actually come out call themselves the "creme de la creme". But that's only because, in their own minds, they're so much better than that! And they are just as determined as any Westsider to make sure that the Metro real estate market maintains its present course.

And I think you'll find that invoking an east of Main address is not going to convince working class voters in outer suburbs that you're prepared to spend your tax dollars improving their transit access. On the contrary, they know from experience that what you have in mind for them is an endless journey on a slow-poke LRT system, with no washrooms or other conveniences, and plenty of crowding, unpleasantness and crime.

I applaud the NDP's new policy direction on Gateway. The Province's prescriptive approach and flawed, manipulative public process will not yield the long term mobility solutions the Greater Vancouver Region requires.

We need bolder vision and a made-in-the-region solution. In pushing Highway expansion over the alternatives, the Province and Feds are taking care of their interests (ie. servicing the ports) which are not necessarily consistent with the interests of those who live in Greater Vancouver.

Vancouver's rejection of freeways in the 60's and the implementation of the ALR in the 70's are key reasons why we have not experienced the degree of sprawl that has characterized metropolitan regions like Calgary or Seattle.

We've seen the development of dense, amenity-rich neighbourhoods downtown Vancouver and in some Regional Town Centres. Vancouver's experience is notable. The City made it policy to create compact neighbourhoods serviced by local shopping areas and to prioritize pedestrians, cyclists transit and goods movement over automobiles. The results over the last decade speak for themselves - find me another City in North America that has doubled its downtown population and where car trips have remained static while walking, cycling and transit use have skyrocketed. Where would Vancouver have placed on the UN livability ranking if we had allowed a freeway to bisect our City and ring our downtown waterfront?

I concede that we've also experienced sprawling suburban growth in some parts of Greater Vancouver. Some municipalities have made blunders with the expansion of low density office parks, strip malls and subdivisions. And my observation is that our overall investment in transit has seriously lagged post Expo.

However, in its blind rush to prescribe more highway capacity as the cure-all for our mobility challenges, the Campbell government is ignoring decades of empirical planning and transportation evidence that you can't build your way out of automobile congestion. Each hour, 3 new babies are born in our region and each hour 3 new cars are registered - you simply cannot service the demand.

Despite the evidence, the Province's environmental impact assessment discounts the Triple Convergence that will quickly absorb any new road capacity and fill our valley airshed with more polluting cars and trucks. And by spending $Billons on highway expansion, the Province is foregoing major transit initiatives and improvements that have vastly more potential to shape efficient, compact development. Its insane that projects like the Evergreeen line and the extension of rail based Transit on Broadway to UBC have not been implemented.

Just ride a Skytrain or bus at peak hour and you can see that demand for transit has spiked upwards as oil approaches $100 per barrel. The 'transit jams' on Skytrain and our overtaxed bus lines easily surpass those single-occupant vehicles choking the Port Mann bridge and Trans Canada Highway.

We need a truly open and transparent public involvement process to develop and test alternatives to Gateway - not the spin that Kevin Falcon's Ministry presents as public process. Citizens of Greater Vancouver deserve better.


I'll take political suicide over real suicide any day. With the Tar Sands, Canadians are already the worst GHG polluters in the world. Gateway just makes it worse.
Unless we slam on the brakes on the Climate Crisis very very soon (this year), and STOP GATEWAY, we will be major contributers to the collapse of eco-systems world wide including the Amazon. Then it's a very short time till a massive die off of humanity. That means our children will have little chance of living past 2050, because civilization will collapse.
If you listen, this is the scientific consensus. It's up to us, world-wide, now, to dramatically slow CO2 parts per million so that atmospheric CO2 levels off at 445 ppm by 2015, or we will have "economic havoc". So say the Editors of the August, 2007 issue of "Scientific American" magazine on page 72.
It's pretty simple. As David Suzuki says "No environment: no economy."

Anyone who cares about the livability or the future of our region doesn't support Gateway. The science is irrefutable. Gateway will be a disaster.

"I'll take political suicide over real suicide any day."


I know.

The Westside environmental NGOs who have conned the NDP's Provincial Council into this anti-Port Mann resolution are controlled by wealthy Liberals. You figure it out, Purton. I have.

"Just ride a Skytrain or bus at peak hour and you can see that demand for transit has spiked upwards as oil approaches $100 per barrel."

What is really going to happen to crude oil prices once President Bush leaves the White House? Since this administration has done everything possible to inflate oil prices, clearly they are going to come down, probably to somewhere in the $35 to $50 per barrel range.

As for the crowding on Skytrain, that is what LRT systems are designed to operate like during peak hours. The transit planners and rolling stock equipment salesmen have a term for it. They call it "crush load", and they are not kidding, are they?

And indeed, why haven't more Skytrain cars been put on? Could it be that the system is already running with as short a headway between trains as safety considerations will allow with these pilotless drones? How much do you trust the computer?

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