Thursday, April 23, 2009

10,000 people (and two polar bears) Petition Premier


VANCOUVER - The Society Promoting Environmental Conservation and the Wilderness Committee delivered petitions with over 10,000 signers to the Premier's office today. The petitions ask that the government cancel the Gateway Program's highway expansion components and invest more in transit instead.

The gateway program is a transportation infrastructure project that includes over 260 km of new highway lanes.

Dozens of activists rallied outside the office in downtown Vancouver including two dressed as polar bears.  The premier's office initially declined to accept the invitations.  After the activists attempted to enter the nearby convention centre where the premier was speaking, staff working with the Premier agreed to accept the petitions.

“Translink is currently exhausting its capital reserves just to keep existing service going,” said Karen Wristen, Executive Director of SPEC. “At this rate, they will be broke in two years. We simply can’t afford both freeway expansion and transit development: we have to solve the transit crisis first.”

“It will be virtually impossible to reach BC’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) if Gateway is allowed to proceed. Gateway is not just an irresponsible plan, it’s immoral,” said Ben West, the Wilderness Committee’s Healthy Communities Campaigner.

The government calculates that greenhouse gas emissions will increase by over 170,000 tonnes per year from the Gateway program.

Premeir Gordon Campbell has not yet responded directly to the petition. In recent interviews he has defended the Gateway Program.


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