Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Rich area of Fraser River in jeopardy

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Urgent action needed to preserve one of Canada’s most important ecosystems, report warns

The Fraser River at Hope BC

The area is the gravel reach between Hope and Mission. The greatest threat is human activity. The report is addressed to the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council.

The 111-page report, entitled Saving the Heart of the Fraser, said the reach represents “some of Canada’s most biologically significant riparian and aquatic ecosystems” and is under “extreme stress” from activities such as urban growth, agriculture, resource extraction and industrial development.

And pointed at this area like an arrow to its heart is Highway #1 . Despite what its proponents admit, the real reason for expanding the highway is to open up more land for development, and there is no doubt in my mind that the illusion of a faster drive into Metro will increase interest in this area for all kinds of development. And of course waterfront sites will carry the usual premium.

Also note that Kevin Falcon thinks that this area should be included in his new South Coast Transportation Authority that would replace Translink.

The one thing we know happens when you “improve” a freeway is that people start making longer distance trips than they did before. Increasing the amount of vehicle kilometres from the existing fleet is the first indication of induced traffic. The perception of distance has been changed, so the deterrence of the expected journey time has been reduced.

And we all know that another 1 million people are coming to this region in the next twenty years or so, and a lot of those are still wedded to the concept of a single family home with a two car garage. And a lot of people know that if they can get their hands on land with current low values due to land use restrictions which they can get lifted by their political buddies, they will make loads of money without doing anything else. Small wonder that the development industry collectively shovels more money at politicians than anyone else.

The test of how “green” this government is will be their response to this report. Maybe a few BC Liberals like to go fishing. I hope so. I don’t know if they will hear any other voices.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 26, 2007 at 11:12 am

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