SkyTrain is one of TransLink's biggest projects

SkyTrain is one of TransLink's biggest projects

Premier pokes TransLink beehive

Metro Vancouver voters will have choice of several funding options, including status quo, Christy Clark says

Premier Christy Clark stirred up debate over her government’s promised referendum on Lower Mainland transit financing this week, suggesting voters will have the option of saying no to additional fees and taxes.

In a year-end interview with Black Press, Clark cautioned that Transportation Minister Todd Stone and Metro Vancouver mayors haven’t worked out the referendum question yet. But she has a specific idea of the referendum that she promised repeatedly in the election last spring.

“My expectation is generally that people will be able to choose amongst a number of options, one of which will be status quo,” Clark said. “But it’s not going to be a yes or no option. There will be a number of options, so it will mean that people will need to do a little bit of homework, thinking about what they’d like to pay for and how they’d like to pay for it, or whether or not they’d like to just keep the status quo.”

The NDP opposition jumped on apparent contradictions between Clark’s version of the referendum and those of Stone. Clark has indicated the province will be neutral as taxpayers vote, but Stone has said he will advocate for new financing for roads and transit.

The referendum is contentious with Metro mayors, who face an election next November that may include the referendum. Metro Vancouver residents already pay a transit levy on their BC Hydro bills, extra fuel taxes and tolls on newer bridges, and proposals for car and parking taxes have ended some municipal careers.

NDP TransLink critic George Heyman said it’s clear that even though the Metro Vancouver mayors have not agreed, “the premier has already decided what voters will be choosing from, when they will do it, and how the results will be interpreted.”

Clark said predictions that any new revenue-collecting measures will be rejected are presumptuous.

“I think this argument that if we make the mistake of asking the public, they will inevitably say no, is kind of insulting for people,” Clark said. “I think we should take more opportunities to ask them and consult them.”

 

 

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read