Anti Gateway Petition Delivered
Provided to you as a public service, this event was not covered at all by the mainstream media – so far as I can tell (i.e. a Google news search found nothing).
Activists dressed in polar bear suits delivered petitions collected by the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) and the Wilderness Committee to Premier Gordon Campbells office at 12:30 today. Over 10,000 signatures have been collected from citizens…
For immediate release Thursday, April 23, 2009
Polar Bears deliver 10,000 Anti-Gateway Petitions to Premiers office
Petitions Demand Funds Redirected to Transit
Vancouver, BC Activists dressed in polar bear suits delivered petitions collected by the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) and the Wilderness Committee to Premier Gordon Campbells office at 12:30 today. Over 10,000 signatures have been collected from citizens demanding investment in public transit and an end to the Port Mann megabridge project.
“Translink is currently exhausting its capital reserves just to keep existing service going,” said Karen Wristen, Executive Director of SPEC. “At this rate, they will be broke in two years. We simply cant afford both freeway expansion and transit development: we have to solve the transit crisis first.”
The polar bears highlight concerns about what activists are calling the “Gateway to global warming”. “It will be virtually impossible to reach BCs commitments to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) if Gateway is allowed to proceed. Gateway is not just an irresponsible plan, its immoral,” said Ben West, the Wilderness Committees Healthy Communities Campaigner.
Environment Canada has stated that the Gateway Program will contribute to a “deterioration of air quality and an increase in GHG emissions”.
“If we want to create jobs to turn our economy around then the good news is that investing in transit creates 3 times as many jobs as the same sized investment in highway expenditure,” said Wristen. A recent report from UBC Professor Patrick Condon shows that the entire south Fraser region could be covered in convenient light rail transit for the same cost as the new Port Mann Bridge.
“Even if Gateway goes ahead, the Port Mann will be packed as a parking lot again within a few years due to the increased sprawl it will promote. The new mega-bridge will only make congestion worse, and citizens will be left holding the bill and paying the tolls for years to come. This is all preventable since there are very sensible solutions available,” said West.
The delivery of 10,000 signatures opposing Gateway in favour of better transit follows the Easter weekend Day of Action which saw activists take to Highway 1 overpasses from West Vancouver to Chilliwack demanding “Rail for the Valley” and “Better Transit, Not Freeways”. One banner from the day of action summed up the feelings of residents saying “Light Rail Cleaner, Safer, Cheaper”.