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March 2, 2017, 5:00 pm

Local Government Matters in this Year's Provincial Election

Metro Vancouver

BURNABY - Metro Vancouver is calling on British Columbia’s four largest political parties to publicly clarify their platforms on critical issues facing the region, including affordable housing, transit and protecting the environment, as well as how they intend to work with the regional government on funding major capital projects.

Seven key questions were sent to the BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Conservatives and the Green Party of BC today, with a response deadline of March 31, 2017. Their answers will be posted on a new website, Local Government Matters, in the weeks leading up to the provincial election on May 9.

“Metro Vancouver is home to more than half the population of B.C. and, with 36,000 new residents each year, our region is experiencing significant challenges associated with population growth,” said Greg Moore, Metro Vancouver Board Chair. “We encourage all residents to visit Local Government Matters to find out where the parties stand on the crucial local issues that affect the prosperity and livability of our region.”

During the next few months, Metro Vancouver aims to engage the political parties in public discussions around issues such as increasing affordable housing supply and building better transit throughout the region to help voters determine which political policies would best support their communities.

“It’s imperative for all Metro Vancouver residents that we maintain a positive and collaborative working relationship with the provincial government,” said Board Vice-Chair Raymond Louie. “The provincial government should collaborate more fully with local governments in the region and throughout BC to maintain our economic competitive and our enviable quality of life.”

One of the questions posed to the B.C. provincial parties is whether they will provide funding for Phase Two of the 10-Year Vision for Transit and Transportation plan. Federal funding is already secured but a financial commitment from the province is needed to alleviate congestion and keep the plan on schedule.

Additional questions relate to the province’s willingness to work more closely with Metro Vancouver on issues of common concern, such as funding commitments for large capital projects including the Lion’s Gate and Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades, with a combined cost of more than $1.7 billion.

Municipal governments own more than 60 per cent of the country's infrastructure, but collect just eight cents of every tax dollar paid in Canada. The other 92 cents goes to federal, provincial and territorial governments.

“We require provincial government support for major infrastructure improvements to build capacity and enhance our services, as well as a better regional transportation network, more affordable housing and an equitable propertybased tax system so our residents pay only their fair share,” adds Moore. “These are the issues that hit close to home for voters and they deserve fulsome answers. ”

Metro Vancouver will not be endorsing any political party and Local Government Matters is a non-partisan initiative to encourage the parties to be forthcoming about how they plan to tackle issues that our residents want addressed.

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation has partnered with Metro Vancouver on Local Government Matters for 2017. A similar website was launched in 2013 for the last provincial election.

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