May 7, 2012 TransLink faces financial blows A synopsis by date of the major events of the past 3 years for Translink, Mayors Council and Province. Prepared by Caelie Frampton, May 2012. *** TransLink was handed several financial blows in April. • The first is the rejection of a fare increase which was projected to bring in $20 million per year for operating costs. • The second is the refusal from the Province to bring in another fuel tax increase, a vehicle levy, or regional carbon tax for this year. This breakdown in negotiations then prompted the Mayors’ Council to cancel the use of property taxes to pay for $30 million of the Moving Forward Supplement. In addition, the TransLink Commissioner Martin Crilly released his audit of TransLink in April. Crilly “challenges” TransLink needs to find $400-$500 million in efficiencies in the next decade. The report calls for restructuring and potential service cuts. It specifically targets collective agreements which have the potential to impact transit workers. The relationship between the Province and the Mayors’ Council is also at all time low since talks that have gone on for 2 years around funding which have essentially fallen apart. Several municipal politicians are calling for a “complete rethink of TransLink” (Mayor Malcolm Brodie, The Province, April 11). Below I’ve highlighted recent discussions on funding, governance and audits. Background and Timeline: – In 2009, The Mayors’ Council approved a Funding Stabilization Plan with fare increases scheduled in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019. This would be on top of the base fare increase, where under the Act, short term fares can go up 2% without approval of the Commissioner. TransLink applies for the required commission approval. – In early 2010, the Commission approves only the 2010 increase for passes and tickets. – In October 2011, the Mayors’ Council approves the 2012 Moving Forward Supplement. The Supplement requires $70 million per year of funding and includes the Evergreen Line.1 Started in April 2012; part of the Supplement – $40 million per year – will be paid for by an increase to the regional fuel tax increase of 2 cents. The balance of $30 million per year will be implemented through a three-year time limited property tax increase of $23.13 per average household in 2013 – if necessary. The Mayors’ Council agrees to the Supplement on the condition that all parties would work together on longer … Continue reading
Welcome Bicycle Valet Volunteers The Bicycle Valet held a successful volunteer information session on Thursday, April 19. We are very happy to welcome new and returning volunteers to our crew for the 2012 season. For people who have not yet applied to volunteer for The Bicycle Valet all is not lost — an on-line form is available at The Bicycle Valet website. Planning is already underway for the first of our volunteer appreciation parties! In April we also had our first winner of the season of the Bicycle Valet prize draw. Bibbi Kujala was the lucky winner of an Icebreaker merino wool toque, Ryder sunglasses, a copy of Tommy Transit’s Bus Tales by Tom Tompkins and Michele Hall, and a BEST t-shirt. Patrons are encouraged to fill in their claims stubs so that they too will have the chance to win big in our twice-monthly draw for excellent swag. We look forward to seeing Bicycle Valet patrons at many events in May, including the Whitecaps Games on May 5, 9, 16, and 19, the VanCity AGM on May 8, and Epic Sustainable Living Expo on May 11-13 — note that for Epic we will be set up in a new location at the east side of the new convention centre. Keep an eye on our website, as new events are being added all the time.
Sonia Ward, Senior Cyclist By Elizabeth Godley In 2001, Sonia Ward made her first major cycling trip, from Kamloops to Lake Louise and back. She was 61. “Something I had always wanted to do was cycle along the Columbia ice field,” she recalls. That year, encouraged by friends, she and her husband, Frank, had joined the Cross Canada Cycle Touring Society, a group composed mainly of bike riders over 60. Since then, she has participated in CCCTS tours to Montana, Holland and San Diego. Another tour took her through the Cascade Mountains, and another from Victoria to Port Hardy and then by ferry to Prince Rupert and Prince George. “It was just so perfect. We had only one day of rain until we got to Prince George.” Their two grandchildren live in the Kootenays with their parents, and Sonia recalls a wonderful ride from Kalso to New Denver that follows an old railway bed. Last summer, the couple spent three weeks in the Maritimes with the CCCTS, touring Cape Breton and PEI as well as Halifax, and putting up at three different universities, where accommodations are a bargain when the students aren’t there. It was on that trip that she and Frank rode 98 kms in one day, their record so far. Sonia, 72, and Frank, 80, have always been active. “We were hikers and climbers, but gradually Frank’s knees got bad and it was easier to cycle,” she says. The couple usually join the CCCTS for regular Sunday rides, starting at 22nd Street SkyTrain station in the morning and going over the Queensborough Bridge and on to Steveston. If the weather is wet, she and Frank will drive from their home in Deep Cove to New Westminster, but otherwise they will cycle all the way, a distance of about 74 kilometres. Sonia has been riding a bike all her life, first as a child in the UK, and later as a midwife at Kings Hospital in London, before she came to Canada and raised a family. Recently, a bout with cancer slowed her down – but not for long. This summer, she and Frank are looking at a trip to Croatia. The couple enjoys cycling with others their own age. “As you grow older, you find you can’t keep up with the younger folks,” she says. “I try to listen to what my body is telling me. Some days … Continue reading