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