Monday, March 24, 2008

Transportation First Step of Livability Accord Process

Last year, the Councils of Surrey, Abbotsford, Coquitlam, and Langley Township signed the Livability Accord, an agreement to work together to convince regional, provincial and federal agencies to better fund infrastructure in these four High Growth Communities (HGCs). At the time, I said this might be the most important thing we do this term (a sentiment I still carry).

Surrey's staff has been spearheading the implementation of the Livability Accord, and the four communities have jointly hired Urban Systems Ltd. to help develop the necessary strategies. Last week, the four councils received an update on the progress. I thought you might be interested in it:
The consultant has nearly completed the information gathering stage of the work and has held a number of meetings/workshops with key staff from the HGCs in commencing the development of the Accord strategies. Staff and the consultant have decided that it would be advantageous to develop one of the Accord strategies as a model to use in expediting the development of the other strategies. The target of this first strategy is "Public Transit and Transportation Infrastucture" (which includes as a necessary subset land use considerations). It is expected that a draft of this first strategy will be completed by the end of March at which time a further report will be forwarded to Council for consideration, followed closely by drafts of the remaining strategies during April.

It is expected that each of the HGC City Councils will consider a draft of the full set of strategies in April and will authorize staff and the consultant to proceed immediately thereafter with public review of the information through open houses and stakeholder meetings, including meetings with officials from other orders of government. Presentations will also be made to the Metro Vancouver Mayors Committee and to the Excecutive Committee of the FVRD. With this public and other stakeholder input in hand, the draft strategies will be finalized and a further report will be provided to each HGC City Council for consideration. the report will include a summary of the public and stakeholder input and will recommend final draft Accord strategies for Council approval. These final draft strategies will be forwarded to Council for consideration and approval no later than September.

I'm pleased to see transportation go first. This is the most pressing need among these four communities, as we share thousands of people who travel regularly among the four municipalities.

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