Stephen Rees's blog

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

Rail for the Valley meeting in Chilliwack

with 9 comments

The crowd giving a cheer for the cameras

The crowd giving a cheer for the cameras

It is very heartening to see a room full of people – and more standing at the back. And when you can fill a hall at election time, the politicians try to get a few minutes face time in front of the crowd too. Peter Holt gave a very thorough PowerPoint presentation with all the facts, and then Malcolm Johnson provided the cost comparisons – and some more pictures. Which left to do the wind up. And the line I took was that the people of Chilliwack should not be fobbed off with yet more studies. This topic has been studied many times – and mostly by people wanting to find excuses not to do it. So what needs to be done now is to canc el the latest study and use the money instead to mount a demonstration project. Some local candidates waffled arounbd a bit but I am pleased to report that the federal NDP and Green candidates both came out in favour of rail. I was heartened that most people in the room applauded when I pointed out the futility of widening the freeway. All except one very irate truck driver who manged to shoot himself in the foot by being very rude. Not surprising then that he had been an unsuccesful candidate in earlier elections.

Hopefully we will see some coverage in the Chilliwack Progress – and there was somone there with a big video camera, so possibly something on local cable too.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 13, 2008 at 5:49 pm

9 Responses

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  1. That’s great! Nice to hear that some federal candidates support rail.

    Erika Rathje

    September 14, 2008 at 10:59 am

  2. Seems to be an older crowd… or is that simply the bias of the camera’s position?

    Corey

    September 14, 2008 at 2:42 pm

  3. Sadly, this was the same comment made by Stephen prior to the meeting. It was a splendid day and that may have some consideration why the younger crowd was sparse. That being said, it is this demographic that want better transit improvements in Chilliwack.

    Malcolm J.

    September 14, 2008 at 6:54 pm

  4. This is also the demographic that will more likely go out and vote on election day, which means that the politicians pay more attention.

    Sungsu

    September 14, 2008 at 7:39 pm

  5. Hopefully it would also translate to ridership. Seniors tend to be less active than younger people (i.e. retired, less need for trips).

    Ron C.

    September 15, 2008 at 1:55 pm

  6. Most of the people in that photo probably once rode the interurban.

    Dave

    September 16, 2008 at 12:04 pm

  7. A bit late posting this but I saw a reference to my speech in the latest Transport 2000 press roundup – so I found the original in the Chilliwack Times and it was also covered in The Chilliwack Progress

    Stephen Rees

    September 22, 2008 at 4:20 pm

  8. It was such an interesting presentation. I wasn’t the only younger mom at the presentation, so the crowd had some diversity age-wise.

    Stephen, we are getting ready to take our questions to the all-candidates meeting for the municipal elections. I think it was you who said that whomever is in charge of allowing trains to return (Translink? the province?) said that they had no received a single letter of support from any city council. Please tell me who that authority is and what type of letter they need; I’d like to go ask the candidates if they are willing to write such a letter.

    Perhaps I could say that the letter would be to support Stephen Rees’s proposal that a demonstration project be funded within X months at a cost of X dollars.

    Please help me fill in these blanks!

    Thanks. I can’t wait to ride the train!

    Beverly

    October 21, 2008 at 9:21 pm

  9. I think the letters of support need to go to the province – but it wasn’t me who said it. That was probably one of the representatives of the local organisations who have been campaigning for rail for the valley. They may also have developed some idea of costs.

    My idea is based on what will be happening on the Vancouver Heritage Railway which is owned by the City of Vancouver. There Bombardier is providing the loan of some trams destined eventually for Brussels. This is because they are an Olympic sponsor and the trams will serve to connect the Olympic Village. This is not a low cost project since it is necessary for the track to be replaced. That is because the track has been in use for the current weekends only service operated by TRAMS (the volunteer Transport Museum Society) and has to be reaplaced anyway due to its age and condition. I have not seen how the costs of getting the trams here and running them are divided up but I suspect Bombardier will absorb a lot of them as part of its Olympic sponsorship.

    My own view is that unless a municipality takes on direct responsibility for the project nothing will happen, as the Province will just drag its feet as usual. They are committed to highway widening and nothing else. A CBC News reporter was speculating last night that the entire $14bn transit “plan” may be axed by Campbell tonight – but the highway plans accelerated. Both due to the current financial climate.

    Stephen Rees

    October 22, 2008 at 8:06 am


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