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.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

ON COOKING: Chef goes a little over the top integrating bacon

His unexpected jam recipe is garnering attention in kitchens and at fair alike

WEATHER: Temperatures to reach 21 degress in Ridge Meadows

Increasing cloudiness is forecasted early Thursday

Maple Ridge liquor store donates portion of sales to food bank

Friends In Need Food Bank will receive an infusion of cash from JAK’S in Westgate

LETTER: Support for music and arts industry critical during COVID, says MLA

A Maple Ridge-Mission politician talks about the current state of the entertainment world

Spike of bear calls to Conservation Officer Service prompts calls for prevention

‘We want to do everything we can beforehand to reduce conflict,’ said Sgt. Todd Hunter

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Death toll rises in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

Number has risen to 22, making it the worst to date in B.C.

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read