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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paul Nestman’s Exemplary Service Award, which will be presented to him on Oct. 27 by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin during a virtual ceremony. (Provided by Tammy Robinson)
‘Trust your team’: Victoria man receives Exemplary Service Award from Coast Guard

Paul Nestman, along with 36 others, receive awards during virtual ceremony

The ‘fall back’ time change Nov.1 means earlier sunrises – and sunsets – for British Columbians. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Clocks ‘fall back’ for B.C. residents on Nov. 1

Daylight Saving Time ends, B.C. still working on permanent switch to ‘spring ahead’ time

Victoria fire crews quickly extinguished a multi-unit apartment building fire near Beacon Hill Park on Oct. 30. (Courtesy of Chief Paul Bruce)
Victoria fire crews extinguish multi-unit fire near Beacon Hill Park

Two people have suffered non-life-threatening injuries

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read