South Fraser transit summit needed, says Langley Township council

Council members fear Vancouver rapid transit line will scoop up funds that should be used to expand transit south of the river.

The public transit needs of Langley and other communities south of the Fraser River boundary could be overlooked in the rush to develop a new regional transit plan for the Lower Mainland, Township councillors are complaining.

Councillor Charlie Fox triggered an avalanche of complaints when he predicted the current planning process will give too much attention to the Vancouver campaign for another underground rapid transit line.

“South of the Fraser is going to lose out to a subway on Broadway,” Fox said.

The issue that provoked the Fox complaint and equally unhappy follow-up remarks from other council members was the presentation of a report on regional transit needs at the Monday, May 12 meeting.

The report was generated by the city of Surrey for a TransLink’s mayors’ council which is trying to develop a transit funding proposal by a June 30 deadline set by the provincial government.

The report makes it clear that there is a large transit gap between the north and south, with the north having 56 per cent of the population and 68 per cent of the bus funding, while the south with 31 per cent of the population gets just 19 per cent of the bus money.

The north has 68 kilometres of rapid transit tracks, while the south has  just six kilometres, the report notes.

For the purpose of the report, the north is defined as seven communities: Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond and Vancouver, while the South consists of five communities: both Langleys, Surrey, White Rock and Delta.

North shore communities, which make up another 13 per cent of the population, were not included.

To catch up with the north, the Surrey report says south of the Fraser needs to double the number of buses and quadruple the amount of rapid transit trackage.

Fox felt the report ought to use stronger language to underline the disparity in transit service.

Councillor Kim Richter said the report didn’t address specific Langley needs.

“I don’t see the benefit [to Langley in endorsing it],” Richter said.

Councillor Steve Ferguson proposed a “council of councils” summit meeting of south of the Fraser communities to present a united front on transit.

Ferguson said without a south-of-the-Fraser united front, the population imbalance will continue to mean transit projects for the north will get priority at the expense of the south.

“Count the heads,” Ferguson said. “They [north of the Fraser communities] are going to have the majority of the votes.”

Councillor Michelle Sparrow said without a united front of south-of-the-Fraser communities, she was “very concerned that our voice in Langley won’t be represented.”

“If we aren’t united on this, our voices are going to be lost,” Sparrow added.

Mayor Jack Froese said other mayors on this side of the Fraser have told him a co-ordinated position would help, but the tight schedule for the report may not allow enough time for a summit.

“We’re kind of at the eleventh hour,” Froese said.

“The deadline the minister gave us has been very short.”

Council voted unanimously to poll other south of the Fraser communities about arranging a transit summit.

Just Posted

Zoo donates $31K to endangered wildlife, some in Fraser Valley

In Sept., the Zoo will host its inaugural Turtle Dash to get the community moving for conservation

Man exposes himself to victim in Langley clothing store

Police have released a surveillance image of the suspect

BREAKING: Aldergrove crash ejects female driver from vehicle

The motorist crashed into a median near the 248th Street overpass

Canada Day lineup in the Langleys

Aldergrove, Fort Langley, and Willoughby will show their true Canadian colours this weekend

Aldergrove peewee hockey player remembered

Minor Hockey Association votes to retire Coleton Nelson’s jersey number

VIDEO: Clip of driver speeding past B.C. school bus alarms MLA

Laurie Throness of Chilliwack-Kent says he will lobby for better safety measures

Olympic skier from B.C. suing Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

B.C. senior’s car vandalized for more than 18 months

Retired RCMP officer determined to catch ‘tagger.’

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Man arrested for alleged indecent act after ‘predatory’ SkyTrain incident

A woman had reported the man had exposed himself while on the train on April 29

Two helicopters reportedly seized by RCMP near U.S. border south of Cultus Lake

Federal Mounties mum on raid two weeks after dramatic raid reported by Columbia Valley residents

Most Read