Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for May 11th, 2008

Tsawwassen: Spirit of Delta Rally

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This gets top billing in today’s Province news section, although it concentrates on the power lines issue. There is also no coverage of anything that was actually said at the rally itself. However a turnout of 2,000 people is not to be disregarded lightly.

The big feature in that paper today is on housing affordability.

The thing that caught my eye in the Delta Optimist was the design charrette for the Southlands run by Andres Duany and an opinion piece on the development that is not against Smart Growth so much as the removal of the land from the ALR twenty years ago.

Of course people who live next to open land are against its development. That is always true in the suburbs. Not so much “after me, no more” but “don’t spoil the view I now have”. If you are lucky enough to own a home that had all the advantages of an urban area but you can kid yourself you live in the country, naturally you do not want that illusion spoiled. And much of the opposition to growth or density in the suburbs is fear of the growth of traffic, although traffic has been growing rapidly in areas which have seen very little development. More trips are being made, and those trips are getting longer – so the VKT increases would happen anyway even if the population wasn’t growing. And of course those terribly expensive large single family homes often have stay at home kids, or grannies in the basement, if not mortgage helpers in “secondary suites” (see Province article cited above). And those big houses have multiple car garages, and plenty of parking spaces too.

But what get people really out of sorts is that not only is transit in this area poor but it is going to get worse, not better, as a result of Translink’s expansion program.

It seems to me that all this is the inevitable result of allowing the region to be developed not in accordance with a well organised, up to date regional strategy that is designed to create a sustainable region (in other words what should have grown out of the LRSP long ago but still hasn’t) but rather in reaction to all kinds of business interests – ports, developers, private sector power providers, private sector transportation companies – who are more concerned about making money than anything else. The people of Delta are upset because no-one is listening to their concerns, and all that is happening in their community seems to be for the benefit of someone else. The consultation and environmental assessment processes are now a very obvious sham – merely a PR exercise to make it look as though someone is consulting and listening, when actually it’s always a Done Deal.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm