April 20, 2015

Quote: The Damage Being Done

From Brent Toderian’s Planetizen post last month: Public Transit Turning Point for Vancouver


“Among other waste and damage done, one of the possible casualties seems to be the public’s feelings about public transit itself, in a region that has long appreciated what transit does to positively shape our lives and our home. Many involved in region-building in Canada, again myself included, are now insisting that no matter what happens with this referendum, we should never use this polarizing, wasteful tool for this kind of complex decision-making in Canada again.”


It’s a critical point: win or lose, there needs to be a decision, before the results of the current referendum are announced, as to whether, based on an ill-considered political promise, referenda are the new normal for determining the future of our transportation systems and the direction of our region.  

If this one is the precedent, then the next referendum should be on approval of the Massey crossing and the related plans of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, since in the event of no, they will prevail by default.  If that’s an unacceptable scenario, then other voices need to be heard to end them now.  No more referenda, no more damage done.

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  1. The public is making its stand known, finally: “NO” to more taxes, “NO” to mismanaged Translink, “NO” to government’s waste of taxpayers’ money, “NO” to the lack of accountability for the waste, and “NO” to vague transportation plans without quotes, budgets, and contingencies. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. We are done being foolish in putting more of our hard-earned money in the hands of spend-thrifts to do with as they will. We want accountability for our dollars — that is the message of the “NO” vote. The governments are listening, so make that “NO” loud and clear, people.

        1. I’m glad you brought that up. Can you please show me an assessment that shows that the money spent to date on public transit has been a poor investment? I don’t think you can do it. I think you may be able to come up with some examples of misspent money, but every system has those. I defy you to demonstrate that the overall money has been a poor investment.

          (Alternatively, you could demonstrate that Translink is the only transportation management authority in the world that has misspent money. Or you could argue that any authority that misspends any money should not receive additional funding – and then, please deal with the consequences of such a position.)

            1. Believe it or not, Susan, my mind is open to the possibility that investing in Translink has been wrong. I just haven’t seen anyone make a coherent argument for that notion. If you can do so, please do. This web site is precisely the right forum to make your case.

              It’s also precisely the wrong forum to make naked assertions and be unable or unwilling to back them up.

    1. Quite right Susan. Nevermind that you got your private road courtesy of our tax dollars. No need to extend such privileges to the hoi polloi outside of the exalted confines of Point Grey.

    2. @ Susan:

      “NO” to more taxes, “NO” to government’s waste of taxpayers’ money, “NO” to the lack of accountability for the waste, and “NO” to vague transportation plans without quotes, budgets, and contingencies.”


      Fair enough. Perhaps now you will say “NO” to your MSP card, protection services, urban utilities, and all the billions spent on massive, public debt inducing and accountability-free road projects.

      1. MB,

        You are casting too wide a net. The past record speaks for itself, and where flawed (ie. Translink and overly delayed transportation infrastructure), we would be fools to throw yet more money into the hands of the proven abusers of that trust in the past.

            1. Sure, how about BC Hydro? Just heard a story on the news this morning about how they hired a contractor who didn’t fulfill the agreement, they are losing millions, quite a few more million that translink and compass…Sound familiar? Where’s the angst?

        1. And most of the big problems with TransLink come from outside the organization. They quite rightly argued against fare gates that will lose tens of millions per year, but Victoria insisted. They were “encouraged” by the Minister of Transportation to make a snap decision on Compass Card provider to tie in with the fare gates and a firm very friendly with the BC Liberals was quickly chosen, a company that has still failed to get the bus readers working acceptably. How is any of that TransLink’s fault?

          Yes TransLink built a toll-financed bridge that turned out to be a big money loser but the Province proved their ineptitude by building a bigger money loser a few miles downstream.

          The real problems are in Victoria and they have been since 1980, long before TransLink even existed.

          1. Ah, but is Translink a “man” or a “mouse”? The answer is one of holding onto responsibility, not passing the buck.

            1. I agree. Translink should have stuck to their guns (and knowledge) and insisted that they will not install fare gates.
              But now that they’re stuck with going that path, they should pick a date and if the provider doesn’t provide their services then they cancel the contract and find someone else. The city of Copenhagen just did that with the bike share provider that didn’t come through with the goods. They just told the provider that they have to deliver all the bikes they ordered by the end of April or the deal is off. Translink could do a similar ultimatum with the Compass card company.

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