Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau responds to questions during a campaign stop in Squamish, B.C., on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. The BC Green Party is calling for a reformation of the financial system used by local governments, which it says would allow them to better address issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

BC Greens platform looks for changes to transit funding, municipal finance system

The Greens did not have an estimate of how much the plan’s points would cost

The BC Green Party is calling for a reformation of the financial system used by local governments to help them better address issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau says that B.C. has a “unique” chance to keep some of the changes brought by the pandemic and improve residents’ quality of life.

The Greens’ election platform points on livability and transit, released Saturday, call for the province to work more closely with local governments to create walkable neighbourhoods, explore the modernization of municipal revenue models and reform the local government finance system.

Local governments are too dependent on property taxes to fund new projects, Furstenau said.

“The current model of local government funding makes local governments reliant primarily on property taxes, which are regressive and inadequate to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” she said.

The party is calling for a change in transit funding, as providers face a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We cannot let these public assets fall behind or let our transit infrastructure be compromised by the pandemic,” Furstenau said.

She cited southern Vancouver Island as an area in need of an improved transit system to deal with a growing population.

The Greens did not have an estimate of how much the plan’s points would cost.

When asked to provide a cost estimate, Furstenau said the other two main parties are making short-term promises aimed at garnering votes instead of long-term solutions to help the province deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Green Party says it would set path to make B.C. carbon-neutral by 2045

Other platform promises include expanded provincial funding for projects such as bike lanes, trails, parks, community spaces, and pedestrian-only streets.

The Greens announcement comes as the BC NDP and Liberals squared off over a proposed plan to build a new tower at the Richmond hospital.

The NDP promised a new nine-floor tower at the hospital during a July announcement, with an additional 220 beds as well as a new emergency room, pharmacy, another intensive care unit, a medical imaging department, and expanded pediatric, surgical, and mental health services.

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson criticized the delay in construction, adding that he sees it as the latest in a line of promises the NDP government failed to follow through on, and promised to build a new hospital tower if elected.

“This hospital was approved by the BC Liberals in 2016. It was then handed to the NDP in 2017 when they took office and they have accomplished nothing,” he said at a press conference.

Wilkinson said the Liberals would make the tower’s construction a priority if elected.

Wilkinson reiterated his belief that governments around the world would be running deficits over the next few years, and now was the time to spend the money on infrastructure projects.

“We all learned in the depression and World War Two that there’s time that spending is required. And this is one of them,” he said. “We have an economy that’s in trouble and that’s the time when the borrowing power of the government has to be used.”

NDP candidate and former health minister Adrian Dix defended his party’s hospital overhaul plan.

“The people of Richmond have waited a long time and we are moving forward with a hospital project everyone can be proud of,” he said at an afternoon press conference.

The plan announced in July has significant changes from the plan announced several years previously, he added.

The NDP also said Saturday that they would build a new school in Olympic Village if elected.

Parents have complained about the lack of schools in the area, starting petitions and websites in an effort to have their concerns addressed.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC GreenBC politicsBC Votes 2020

Just Posted

Courtenay artist Bill Bolten recently presented Dr. Bonnie Henry with this carving of a yellow warbler. Photo supplied.
Courtenay carver creates gift for Dr. Bonnie Henry

Bill Bolten presented the carving to B.C.’s public health officer in person

Painters Jim Tulip, Doug Mackenzie and Gary Henslowe were painting the exterior of the Duncan Butcher Shop and Apple Press printing shop, located between the Trans Canada Highway and Whistler Street, on Oct. 8 as part of neighbourhood painting project. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan’s Whistler Street sees a fresh lick of paint in opioid battle

Group wants to help clean up community, one street at a time

Maureen Cue, owner of Disguise the Limit costume shop, models – maybe the most obvious – pandemic costume. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Vancouver Island costume expert showcases pandemic-safe Halloween looks

Maureen Cue models the best masked Halloween costumes

Thaddeus Lenover kisses his mushroom picking partner Teagan Evans on the cheek after a rainy day out in the woods harvesting wild mushrooms. (Nora O'Malley photo)
West Coast mushroom pickers say it’s less busy this year

COVID-19 reduces interest in what has otherwise been a good season

(pixabay photo)
Bakker: Feeling alone after a miscarriage

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Visitors stroll through Goldstream Provincial Park on a calm, crisp Sunday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Visitors flock to Goldstream Provincial Park for 2020 salmon run

‘I wanted to come here before I move back to Australia,’ says visitor

File Photo
Planned power outage in Port Alice Oct. 27

BC Hydro crews to work from midnight to 4 a.m. replacing substation equipment

Greg Duerksen and his family. (gofundme photo)
Firefighter prepares for stem cell transplant

Friends rally to help raise funds for Duerksen family

Legendary Vancouver-based blues and jazz guitarist and vocalist Jim Byrnes will perform live at the Tidemark Theatre in a concert that will also be streamed. Contributed photo
Legendary blues musician and actor Jim Byrnes hits the Island

Playing Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre for a hybrid live/online show

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Facebook photo)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

Most Read