The topic is grim, but my friend Paul Hillsdon got a large inside page photo and full-page article in the Province on the rally/gathering he and Trevor Loke have organized in Surrey this Sunday. (1 p.m. at the Central City Plaza, 13450 102nd Avenue, across from Surrey Central SkyTrain station.) We’re taking a stand together against gang violence. More info in the article.
Other friends have had letters in the Province published recently, and finally it’s my turn to get some ink—not in the Province, but in what apparently is even more important: the Surrey Leader. My letter is copied below in the format in which it was published.
In related articles, there’s a link to a Surrey Leader article about Paul, which I had not noticed before!
SURREY – Surrey City Council candidate Paul Hillsdon announced today the centrepiece of his campaign — the Transit for Tomorrow plan. The plan, designed specifically to meet the growing transport demands of the South Fraser area (Surrey, Langley, Delta, and White Rock), would vastly expand the rapid transit system, with no need for local property tax increases or fare hikes.
“The Transit for Tomorrow plan begins to fix our woefully inadequate transit with fiscal prudence during these times of economic hardship. Construction of the lines will boost the local economy and create jobs, while addressing our transport, health and environment issues all at the same time,” said Hillsdon.
In case you’d been wondering, I didn’t die, fall ill or otherwise lose the ability to post to my blog. The desire, somewhat… but moreover I was too busy doing and thinking other things to even remember to post, and when I did I didn’t feel up to it or there was something of higher priority. (I had my New Entry page open, blank, for 12 days.) So why have I been so quiet? Long story short (long story is hopefully coming later but don’t hold your breath), I moved back to North Vancouver from my co-abode in Surrey. That was almost a month ago (my how time flies when one is busy!) and my new-old bedroom is still a mess so it’s been my priority over many things. Everybody here (my middle sister and her family moved back in two days before I did) has been in purge mode and digging through my old stuff I left behind has been eventful and interesting. The cause for the move back home I don’t wish to discuss in detail — so please don’t ask — but is simply that the two of us aren’t together anymore. Nothing simple about that but it’s a straightforward reason. More specifically I guess I could say I moved back home because living solo in Metro Vancouver is incredibly expensive if not unaffordable. So I’m here waiting out the housing heat wave and am trying to be optimistic about it.
On Monday I had a little adventure I’d like to share with you. It needed the above introduction to fully make sense of the context, but it’s kind of like the 8th story in a series because there is much to say for the previous weeks. We’ll start here for now.
On Saturday I attended a forum put on by VALTAC (Valley Transportation Advisory Committee), hosted at the Langley Township Hall. (Nice building!) It was a statement toward our poor transit network South of the Fraser that all five speakers drove to the venue. Stephen Rees joked that the TransLink trip planner wouldn’t even give him a trip itinerary because it would take either more than 3 hours or more than 3 transfers. My proximity to the Hall made it easy enough to get there, if you consider a bus late by 7 minutes then a 20-minute walk easy. And Langley isn’t exactly known for being pedestrian-friendly.
The forum was about getting better public transportation South of the Fraser, mainly via rail connections. There is much support for one solution, spearheaded by a group called Rail for the Valley, which would reinstate the Interurban that ran from about 1900 to 1950 all the way from Vancouver to Chilliwack. Maps at the venue showed the dense urban centres through which this rail line passes. (Today it is used only for freight.)
Increasingly, the news in the blogs I read has focused on climate change, biofuels and alternative energy for fueling transportation… and with good reason. We’re faced with a crisis, and we all know that. Many of the solutions already exist, in the past before depedence on oil became the norm for most transportation, and gave us solid plastic, plastic bags, chemical fertilizers, fat-free ice cream (propylene glycol, anyone?), and the American Dream: a big house on a big lot in suburbia. Well, Canadians have made that dream as much of a reality as our neighbours to the south, and in greater Vancouver, the hidden evil of it is present in perhaps no stronger a form than in the suburbs of Surrey and Langley.