The road not taken

On Monday, Public Eye was the first to tell you the New Democrat's provincial council resolved to "oppose the Campbell government's 'Gateway Program'." But some of the party's constituency associations would have preferred a more nuanced position. In advance of the same council meeting, Surrey-Newton introduced a resolution that would seen the party "support the building of rapid transit and the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge, in such a manner as to encourage the preservation of farm lands and the promotion of high density residential land use." And another resolution, sponsored by Surrey-Whalley and Port Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, called on the New Democrats to "not oppose the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge." But those two resolutions never made it to the floor because the council decided to oppose Gateway. The following is a complete copy of both resolutions.

Submitted by: Surrey Whalley; Port
Coquitlam Burke Mountain
Date: August 24, 2007

WHEREAS a sustainable transportation and use plan for the lower mainland is required for the future orderly and environmentally sound growth of the region and;

WHEREAS the BC NDP publicly supported many of the elements of the current Gateway plan in the 2005 campaign including the south Fraser perimeter road, the north Fraser perimeter road , and the Pitt river bridge among others

WHEREAS many people in the suburbs of the lower mainland are frustrated by relentless traffic congestion and therefore support solutions to reduce congestion and;

WHEREAS a significant increase in the development of the public transit network in the northeast sector and south of the Fraser is required to make public transit a desirable choice for many citizens and;

WHEREAS personal safety on Skytrain and buses is a concern for both transit user and bus drivers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the BC NDP support an expanded, safe and affordable public transit system serving all parts of the region, and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the BC NDP not oppose the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge.


Submitted by: Surrey Newton
Date: August 24, 2007

WHERE AS: an effective Transportation Plan requires the ability to move people and goods in an efficient and timely manner and is crucial to the long term needs of the public and British Columbia's economy; and

WHERE AS: both rapid transit and a comprehensive network of roads and bridges are crucial to an effective transportation plan; and

WHERE AS: effective land use regulations such as high density development and the protection of ALR lands go hand in hand with transportation planning;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the BC NDP support the building of rapid transit and the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge, in such a manner as to encourage the preservation of farm lands and the promotion of high density residential land use.


I guess Surrey and PoCo is the last vestige of sanity in the NDP.

Come on Brar, Hammell, Ralston, Farnworth, Bains-- don't let the Vancouver gang ruin it for the rest of us.

Does this mean that Bains, Ralston and Farnworth will be joining Sather?

Screw that. If we have to lose some suburban seats to take a proper stand on the environment, so be it.

The Surrey Newton resolution lacks the excess of faux plannerese that the anti-Gateway resolution overflowed with, but then that's actually an advantage, isn't it?

The NDP is facing the same dilemna that other, philosophically based parties such as Reform and the Conservatives have come up against. The party's activist base is more extreme than the party's wider vote base among the electorate, and the party leadership has to constantly spend time telling the zealots to please cool it.

I think yesterday I finally heard Carole James and the NDP finally take somewhat of a position on Gateway. Some parts they are apparently in favor of; and other parts they oppose. Still kind of clear as mud, but at least it’s a start. The upside is that I think they are in favor of twinning the Port Mann.

It is ridiculous to have to drive on roads from the 1960's with no meaningful capacity increase. NDP need to realize that population grows and roads need to expand with the population. Vancouverites do not like to be hemmed in, and we are. Open up the road network. Cars are very much more enviromentally friendly compared to a ferw years ago.

Okay. At what point do we need to stand on principle and damn the political fall-out for the time being. As Heather Harrison pointed out at Provincial Council, the environment is a huge concern and voters will come to see the Gateway plan as a huge mistake and when that day comes, the party that supports it will be swept away.

This is about our children and their future. Gateway means more cars, more pollution and a planet that will become even more sick.

And it sickens me that we actually have people in this party who would support twinning the Port Mann. Don't they get it in Port Coquitlam and Surrey? We need less cars, not more. All of my friends and family agree that Gateway is just a gateway to pollution and global warming.

And the end of the day, losing a handful of seats in the suburbs (which also means a more progressive stance on crime issues, like looking at poverty and housing) is a small price to pay to know that as a movement, the NDP did the right thing.

At what point do the MLAs stand up against the party zealots in favour of their much larger voter base?

At what point does the party listen to people beyond Boundary Road.

There needs to be more voices in the NDP than just COPE and COPE-lite-VV, neither of which resonate with voters beyond Vancouver. To simply say that we can't build ourselves out of traffic is trite to say the very least. Those the likes of Heather Harrison's may speak in platitudes but in doing so totally ignore the reality for folks beyond Vancouver. How do you run a bus system over the current Port Mann Bridge? How do you run transit over there? How do you put in a West-Bound HOV land? You can't make improvements to transit without bridge expansion.

That's why the previous NDP government planned to twin the Port Mann bridge. That's why Mike Harcourt has also favoured the twinning of the bridge.

An excerpt from an article in the Georgia Straight:

"Suspended Maple Ridge–Pitt Meadows NDP MLA Michael Sather will speak at an **anti-Gateway** rally outside the Westin Bayshore hotel on September 29."

One component of the Gateway Program is the North Fraser Perimeter Road, which includes the new Pitt River Bridge and Mary Hill Bypass interchange, currently under construction.

The prime beneficiaries will be the constituents of Sather's riding, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. It makes one wonder if, in fact, these guys actually get it....

I wouldn't mind betting that if this issue goes on longer, some of more "moderate" elements of the NDP may get annoyed at the rejection of their proposals and this can give the opportunity for the Liberals to offer those "moderates" to jump ship.

Seems like the NDP is still struggling to find itself right now.

Ha Ha.
Have to hand it to the Libs they continue to bring up issues and initiatives that the NDP crew stumble and fumble with.

I don't mind this as long as the stumbling and fumbling is done when they are not government. If they were government the story would be different. BC would still be Canada's basket case.

Yeah, a Gateway to a Highway of Death, the stretch of Highway One between Chase and Salmon Arm, with the most fatalities here since the early nineties. Drive here if you dare. The local EDC is sending a Trade Mission to China, of fifteen delegates this fall, to innitiate "Immigration (of skilled labour and processes to access labour)". Really? As there is no affordable housing for our own Canadian workers, this is the solution? This is such a brain-dead part of Canada.

"Okay. At what point do we need to stand on principle and damn the political fall-out for the time being. As Heather Harrison pointed out ...

And the end of the day, losing a handful of seats in the suburbs (which also means a more progressive stance on crime issues, like looking at poverty and housing) is a small price to pay to know that as a movement, the NDP did the right thing."

These statements by some nonentity calling itself At what point have a familiar ring. It's the kind of policy direction that the NDP gets from Liberal moles in their ranks, urging the party to take the supposedly principled road to defeat. In some cases, the passion with which the arguments for policy extremism are put forward are a bit more sincere, in that it can involve frustrated communists who are acting under Liberal discipline and control. In the case of At what point, I think he/she/it falls into this second category because of the progressive crime - damn those suburbs speech.

BTW, can someone tell me who the Hell Heather Harrison is, and why the Hell I should care what Heather thinks about an issue that admittedly doesn't involve direct benefits for her, but will have a major impact on the economic and social lives of millions of other Canadians, now and well into the long term future? Gateway is critical to the competitiveness of the Canadian economy, not just in BC but in all the other provinces as far east as Quebec, and by affecting Canada's competitiveness it affects the average productivity and wage levels in this nation, which sadly, still lag well behind American levels even with out dollar trading ar par.

Vancouverites like Harrison won't personally be using either of the perimeter roads or the Trans Canada, at least not on a daily basis, so they perceive this issue only in terms of taxes paid, few personal benefits recieved. Yet Vancouverites are happy to tax Canadians as far away as Newfoundland to pay for their rinky dink P3 RAV line, whose stations will be too small, and which will carry passengers at the same pedestrian speeds as Skytrain, and all this lowball transport service taking up the huge costs of an underground route. What are we going to do in twenty years time, when we want a high speed heavy rail subway? Build another tunnel down Cambie? Where will it go on the Downtown side of False Creek, down Seymour?

As for the phoney enviro schtick Vancouverites put forward to rationalize their opposition to Gateway, they have at best the beginnings of an argument in terms of Port Mann - Highway 1, ... provided a person is silly enough, or dishonest enough, to believe, or say they believe, that a 2% rise in GHG emissions over a fifteen year period represents anything other that stable emissions in practical terms. Other than that, ... PMH1 utilizes an exisitng ROW and there is no environmental impact that cannot be mitigated. For example, Corrigan's Burnaby claims there are some drainage issues near Deer Lake since the Highway was widened to six lanes, so maybe that needs to be addressed. Isn't it funny they never complained about those issues till they wanted Gateway to fork over money to help fix up Burnaby's own roads?

The lie to the posturing of Vancouverites and the fake Westside environmental NGOs on Gateway can be seen in the Vancouver City Council resolution that condemned PMH1, but said "go ahead" to the two perimeter roads. Yet we now know that it's the South Fraser Perimeter Road that has serious environmental issues with respect to Burns Bog and will consume hundreds of acres of farmland, ... and yet that's the road that fake environmentalists like David Cadman and Peter Ladner were just fine with. Can someone please show me another episode in recent Canadian history where a vested interest group has put their total insincerity on more brazen display, ... only to be taken at their word by so-called independent and radical media like The Georgia Straight? The total lack of intellectual honesty on this issue is really vomitty.

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