Dear Mr. Neagu:
Thank you for your letter of June 5, 2022.
While I appreciate that your primary concern is to protect the jobs of your union local, my priority as Mayor is to ensure that the residents of West Vancouver have the best transit service possible. As Chair of North Shore Connects, a partnership of the three local governments and two First Nations on the North Shore, I’ve been working hard to find integrated transportation solutions to the traffic congestion that is significantly affecting the livability and economic health of our community. Recently, North Shore Connects gained regional support to finally bring rapid transit to the North Shore (called “BIRT” for short). This is a major achievement that will improve transit service across the North Shore, and connect West Vancouver with the rest of the region.
You suggest that this new rapid transit line will negatively impact our Blue Bus service. These fears are misplaced. BIRT hasn’t even been designed yet. The specific mode and route will require further study and evaluation. Importantly, this rapid transit will not be a B-line. In the short term, what is contemplated is a traffic-separated Bus Rapid Transit, or “train on wheels” because this can be put into service quickly. Construction is set to begin in the next five years. We can’t afford to wait. We need solutions as soon as possible.
We still aren’t sure what form the rapid transit service will take in the longer term. Further study will be required to confirm what technology ultimately makes the most sense – BRT, Light Rail, SkyTrain or a combination of these.
In the meantime, I want to make one thing clear: our community cherishes our Blue Bus, and there are no plans to reduce this service or the number of bus stops. The work we are doing to bring rapid transit to the North Shore, and West Vancouver, is going to augment, not detract from, the present service we enjoy.
Change can be difficult. I understand that uncertainty about new initiatives can cause anxiety. However, we aren’t going to solve the problems we are currently facing by doing the same things we have always done. We must build for the future.
Mayor Mary-Ann Booth
District of West Vancouver
604-925-7001 | westvancouver.ca