They City of Vancouver may be pushing for a rapid transit line down Broadway, but Premier Christy Clark isn’t exactly enthused about making the project a provincial priority.
“I know that mayors want their little piece of the infrastructure pie, but my job as premier is to look after everybody,” she said to Jas Johal in a wide-ranging interview on the anniversary of her surprise election victory.
“Vancouver has a fantastic transit network, it has room to grow, it’s not perfect, I understand that. But boy, for anyone that sits in that Massey Tunnel, it feels a lot less perfect than Vancouver’s system.”
Clark was explaining why the government has committed to replacing the aging Massey Tunnel, linking Delta to Richmond, ahead of a proposed $2.8 billion subway line to UBC, which Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has been campaigning for.
Clark reiterated that any transit improvements in Metro Vancouver would have to be approved in a region-wide referendum.
Her remarks were met with disappointment by regional transit advocates at Gesamtkunstwerk, an urban sustainability conference.
“I think we need a balanced approach,” said former NDP leader Mike Harcourt. “I think the tunnel does need to be replaced, the Patullo does need to be replaced, but we do need to complete the transit system. It’s roads and transit, it’s not either/or.”
SFU City Program Director Gordon Price agreed that both projects should be treated with equal importance.
“Why are we voting it, and not on Massey? It seems to me they’ll cost about the same. If you’re going to have vote on one, then have all of it on the table, and see what the priorities are.”
“It’s a disturbing idea that well, we’re going to go ahead on Massey, there won’t be a vote on that, but the vote you are going to have may well put an essential economic engine of this province at risk.”