It’s time for the provincial government to act on Sea to Sky regional transit
Over the first few days of this new year, I worked with the BC Green Party to launch a petition calling on the BC government to finally make regional public transit a reality in the Sea to Sky corridor. In 2018, local partners expected to launch a service in 2019, but the provincial government balked.
Three years later, our region was so desperate for action from the government that Howe Sound Secondary students wrote to the Minister of Transportation and started a Change.org petition that gathered over 500 signatures. After a decade or more of planning, still no action from the provincial government.
Public transit connecting Mt. Currie, Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish, Lions Bay, Britannia, Furry Creek and Horseshoe Bay with Metro Vancouver is so clearly and urgently needed. Local governments and First Nations have been advocating for regional transit for years, but don’t have the tools to do it on their own. In Metro Vancouver, an 18-cent per litre fuel tax funds the Translink public transit system. Drivers in the Sea to Sky don’t pay this tax, but still pay a similar or higher price for fuel, with no access to regional transit.
Frankly, it is kind of amazing that regional transit hasn’t happened yet: a multi-purpose solution that connects communities, reduces road congestion, takes climate action, increases personal safety, and offers an affordable transportation solution to residents and workers of the Sea to Sky.
I ran as a BC Green in the 2020 provincial election, and hope to do so again in the next election. All three candidates in 2020 – Green, Liberal and NDP – supported regional transit, and all the Sea to Sky local governments are in agreement, but the BC NDP government has stood in the way. The government has the surplus funds now and should lead on this project even if it perceives political risk.
So, public pressure is needed once again! The BC Greens are asking West Vancouver – Sea to Sky residents and voters to sign this online petition, and contact Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming, Minister of Municipal Affairs Anne Kang, Premier David Eby, and federal MP Patrick Weiler.
Express your strong support for regional transit in the Sea to Sky – I really hope this time we can make it happen, at long last. It’s 2023, and it’s time.
Jeremy Valeriote is a professional geological engineer with a background in environmental consulting and local government. He served as a Councillor for the Town of Gibsons and was the BC Green candidate for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky in 2020, falling short of being elected by 0.2% of the total vote. He is the former Chair of the BC Greens and a director of the local BC Greens riding association for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky. He currently works as executive coordinator to the Mayor and CAO at the District of Squamish, and lives in Whistler with his spouse and twin 9-year old daughters.