Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for January 1st, 2008

City State on the Fraser

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Rafe Mair, in the Tyee, writes about the meetings he has been chairing for Metro Vancouver as part of the process for updating the regional plan.

He covers all the ground that will be familiar to readers of this blog – the Eagleridge Bluffs, the South Fraser Perimeter Road, the uselessness of our environmental assessment process. But the real point is how the province treats municipalities.

My essential question is this: what happens when senior governments want to do something that one of the component local governments of Metro Vancouver either isn’t fussy about or simply disapproves of — such as the overpass at Eagleridge Bluffs near Horseshoe Bay, or a massive undertaking such as expanding Deltaport, including a highway that endangers wildlife preserves and threatens agricultural land?

At present, when the provincial government decides to do something, it does it. Then, as an afterthought, it gets an environmental assessment. That the project will be approved is a foregone conclusion of nearly all B.C. environmental assessments. There is very little ability of the public to stop, amend or slow down Victoria’s pet projects.

Actually that is also true of projects that municipalities want to do, but have little public support – or outright opposition. Many councils hold hearings and allow people to make presentations at council meetings – but vote regardless of what they have heard. And this includes projects which clearly violate the principles those same councils set out in their Official Community Plan – and especially the regional growth strategy they all signed on to.

Rafe thinks it is time we tried democracy for a change, and I must say I agree with him.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 1, 2008 at 10:31 am

Posted in regional government

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