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

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Enrolment is down across the entire district. File photo
SD 20 experiences small decline in student enrolment

District staff said more parents are homeschooling their children this year due to COVID-19 crisis

Internet service in the West Kootenay is improving thanks to provincial government grants. File photo
COVID-19 support program brings faster internet to rural communities

The province has provided grants to local internet providers

An image from Castlegar city council on Zoom.
Castlegar council decides to keep meeting online

City council meetings will remain online at least until January

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Glen Byle spent election night at home with his kids. Photo: Submitted
A post-election message from Conservative Party candidate Glen Byle

Glen Byle was a Conservative Party candidate for Kootenay West in the provincial election.

Most Read