Maple Ridge chamber backs proposed .5 % sales tax

Becker disagrees with referendum, says provincial gov't copping out

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows chamber of commerce has listened to its parent organization and is backing the new transportation tax referendum.

“The board of directors did vote in favour of supporting the mayors,” said chamber president Terry Becker. “Everyone was in agreement, transportation has to be improved.”

Traffic gridlock costs the Metro Vancouver $1 billion a year, said Becker, citing earlier statements.

Jon Garson with the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, made the pitch before Christmas, asking local businesses to support the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition, composed of the Vancouver Board of Trade, Tourism Vancouver, and Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association.

The coalition has created a pledge for other groups who support the tax to sign. The pledge says that a yes vote for more TransLink funding will “strengthen our economy, reduce pollution, improve the health of our communities and make this region a more affordable place to live.”

The Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation has proposed a half-per-cent increase on the seven-per-cent provincial sales tax to help fund the mayor’s transportation vision – a $7.5-billion 10-year package of upgrades – unveiled last June – includes a Broadway subway, light rail in Surrey, 11 new B-line express bus routes, frequent SeaBuses and a 25 per cent general lift in bus service, as well as more money for HandyDart and West Coast Express.$7.5 billion.

The government has approved the question, with the small change of making it separate from the sales tax and instead calling it Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax.

Becker, though, opposes the entire referendum process, saying the provincial government is dishing it off on to the mayors.

“I think they have downloaded the decision. I would have preferred that it be dealt with at the provincial level and not downloaded to the mayors.”

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read was one of only three mayors on the council to oppose the question because she says mayors are given accountability for TransLink without the ability to run it.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore recently told Pitt Meadows council that this area could be among the first to benefit if the mail-in referendum is passed next March or April. Starting a B-line service between Maple Ridge and the new Evergreen SkyTrain line in Coquitlam could be one of the quickest projects to do.

Becker said she’s concerned about the traffic choke points on Lougheed Highway between 200th and 203rd Street.

TransLink calculates that the 0.5 per cent increase in PST will cost the average family in the region $125 per year.


Just Posted

Two open houses about Maple Ridge’s future

City wants ideas about road, northeast Albion

RCMP surround Maple Ridge house, make arrest

Man leaves home as canine team brought in.

Chef Lesnes is leaving the Garibaldi kitchen

He is retiring after 30 years.

Untrending: Welcome to the age of domotics

‘Smart home systems might even ensure a cleaned cat litter box.’

Work to start on Albion Community Centre next week

Politicians hold sod turning event on Saturday

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Thieves steal tents from B.C. school, Grade 7 camping trip happens anyway

Nanaimo businesses, school staff and parents ensure trip goes on

Only legal pot shop between Vancouver and Kamloops now open

Private cannabis store on Skwah land in Chilliwack is first B.C. licensee to be Indigenous owned

‘I feel free’ says mother of BC murder victim after daughter’s belongings returned

After 11 years, Rosemarie Surakka said she feels like it is 99.9 per cent over

‘Predatory’ suspect sought after exposing himself on SkyTrain

Man had been riding the trains for about an hour between Main Street and Edmonds stations

Canadian communities responding to climate change

New research highlights state of local adaptation planning in Canada

Victoria woman in L.A. hospital after she was run over twice

Lynn Phillips has suffered from multiple broken bones and internal bleeding

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Woman found after absence from forensic psychiatric hospital in Coquitlam

Barbara Tom was reported on an unauthorized absence from Brookside Treatment Centre

Most Read