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

Police continue to investigate a break-and-enter in this Sidney jewelry store in the 2500-block of Beacon Avenue. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Thieves hit Sidney jewelry store

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP says incident is not part of a larger trend

A rare Short-eared owl was found dead in a Saanich backyard on Oct. 26 and will be sent for a necropsy to find out if it had ingested rat poison. (Photo courtesy Kimberly Adamec)
Rare owl found dead in Saanich yard to be sent for necropsy

Short-eared owl ‘vulnerable’ in B.C., owl advocate says

This house in the 600-block of Linden Avenue in Fairfield has a Día de Muertos theme for 2020. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Haunted Oak Bay

Residents spookify houses

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch #91, said plans for a new building will ensure long-term sustainability. (Black Press Media file photo)
Plans for new Legion in Langford include low-cost housing for seniors

Project could be before council in early 2021

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Most Read