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BC Green platform looks for changes to transit funding, municipal finance system

Click to play video 'One-on-one with new B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau' One-on-one with new B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau
One-on-one with new B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau – Sep 15, 2020

The BC Green Party is calling for a reformation of the financial system used by local governments to help them better address issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau says that B.C. has a “unique” chance to keep some of the changes brought by the pandemic and improve residents’ quality of life.

Read more: BC NDP pledge new elementary school for Vancouver’s Olympic Village

The Greens’ election platform points on livability and transit, released Saturday, call for the province to work more closely with local governments to create walkable neighbourhoods, explore the modernization of municipal revenue models and reform the local government finance system.

Local governments are too dependent on property taxes to fund new projects, Furstenau said.

Click to play video 'BC Greens make campaign promise to support young families' BC Greens make campaign promise to support young families
BC Greens make campaign promise to support young families – Oct 6, 2020

The party is calling for a change in transit funding, as providers face a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“We cannot let these public assets fall behind or let our transit infrastructure be compromised by the pandemic,” Furstenau said.

She cited southern Vancouver Island as an area in need of an improved transit system to deal with a growing population.

When questioned about a cost, Furstenau said the other two main parties are making short-term promises aimed at garnering votes instead of long-term solutions to help the province deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Read more: BC Greens unveil COVID-19 recovery plan focusing on climate action

Other platform promises include expanded provincial funding for projects such as bike lanes, trails, parks, community spaces, and pedestrian-only streets.

The Greens announcement came as the BC NDP and Liberals squared off over a proposed plan to build a new tower at the Richmond hospital.

The NDP also said Saturday that they would build a new school in Olympic Village if elected.