Toned down transit plans move ahead 

SLRD to consult with member municipalities in developing regional transit plan

After some debate, the Squamish Lillooet Regional District still plans to develop a regional transit plan, and will be looking to member municipalities for input.

At an SLRD meeting held at the end of January, Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed said there were some concerns raised about a proposed regional transit plan for the entire corridor, which would link Lillooet and Squamish.

“There had been a letter from the District of Squamish asking the Regional District not to go ahead with the establishment of that service, and Whistler had expressed similar concerns,” Melamed said.

In November, the board approved a series of initiatives intended to help establish a regional transit planning service, and to make the SLRD eligible to apply for $1,191,531 through the Federal-Provincial Gas Tax Agreement to go towards transit infrastructure, like bus pullouts and shelters, and park and rides.

“We’re in the process of developing a Regional Growth Strategy, and one of the goals in that document is to improve transportation linkages,” Area C director Susie Gimse said. “One of the strategic directions that we’ve all agreed to is to consider a model for the provision of regional transit service that would create a bus service between the major centres in the region.”

To apply for the funding, Gimse said the board first has to establish the service in a bylaw, an idea that was supported back in November.

But it seemed like some members are having second thoughts.

“The larger municipalities came back and went, ‘whoa, wait a minute, we’re not ready yet to look at a regional transit service,’” she said.

Gimse attributed the hesitation to a misunderstanding about how a regional transit service would work.

 

“I think the municipalities were concerned that the Regional District was going to take over the delivery of transit service within municipalities, and that’s not the direction we want to go,” she said.

“We want to be able to link into municipal transit systems and connect the communities within the region.”

She pointed out that they have a lot of planning to do to work out the details, which means they need the funding.

Melamed said Whistler supports planning for regional transit and transportation, although there are some questions that still need to be answered.

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