62% vote NO in Metro Vancouver Transit Plebiscite

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SkyTrain Expo Line / Shutterstock

Metro Vancouver residents have voted against the Mayors’ Council plan to introduce a regional 0.5 per cent transit sales tax to support public transit initiatives.

The ‘No’ campaign prevailed overwhelmingly with 61.68% of the mail-in ballot vote that was held over a 10 week span beginning March 16 and ending May 29.

Voter turnout was 51.09% with 798,262 of 1,562,386 eligible voters returning their ballot to Elections B.C.

For the city that would have benefited most from a ‘Yes’ result, a total of 210,249 City of Vancouver residents participated in the plebiscite, with 50.81 per cent or 106,818 voting against.

In contrast, voter turnout within the November 2014 Vancouver municipal election was 44 per cent or 181,707 ballots.

Just three municipal jurisdictions voted in favour of the proposal: Bowen Island, Belcarra, and Electoral Area A, which comprises of the University of British Columbia. There was no majority support from any major municipality in the region.

“This is democracy. One accepts a Yes or a No,” said Interim TransLink CEO Doug Allen. “The fact that it is a No, it’s not my preference, but that is the will of those who voted and we must respect that.”

“So, TransLink will continue to work day in, day out to deliver the best, the safest, the most reliable and the most efficient system possible. We must recognize, however, that it will not be easy because we will not be able to expand. Our revenue base will be flat or falling and we’ll simply have to do a lot of things better in order to provide the kind of service we’ve provided to date.”

However, it should be noted that the results of the transit plebiscite are not legally binding. Plebiscites gauge the level of public interest on a matter, but unlike referendums the government is not required to take necessary action that changes or implements new legislation and programs in response to the vote’s result.

 

The Mayors’ Council, TransLink and the provincial government will now spend the next several months to discuss the next steps and understand the message sent by voters.

A ‘Yes’ vote would have provided the Mayors’ Council and TransLink the mandate to move forward with a $7.5 billion transportation plan that includes an underground extension of the SkyTrain Millennium Line along Broadway, a light rail transit network in Surrey, a new seismically safe Pattullo Bridge, improved night bus service, the use of a third SeaBus and a significant increase in bus network frequency, including the introduction of 11 new B-Line rapid bus routes.

New revenues from the tax increase would raise $2.5 billion over 10 years, with the provincial and federal governments contributing the remaining balance.

Metro Vancouver Transit Plebiscite Results

 

  • Bowen Island:
    • Yes – 61.92%; 847 votes
    • No – 38.08%; 521 votes
    • Total votes – 1,368
  • City of Burnaby:
    • Yes – 35.06%; 24,355 votes
    • No – 64.94%; 45,113 votes
    • Total votes – 69,468
  • City of Coquitlam:
    • Yes – 32.78%; 14,200 votes
    • No – 67.22%; 29,120 votes
    • Total votes – 43,320
  • City of Langley:
    • Yes – 27.71%; 2,226 votes
    • No – 72.29%; 5,807 votes
    • Total votes – 8,033
  • City of Maple Ridge:
    • Yes – 22.97%; 6,404 votes
    • No – 77.03%; 21,470 votes
    • Total votes – 27,874
  • City of New Westminster:
    • Yes – 45.45%; 10,623 votes
    • No – 54.55%; 12,748 votes
    • Total votes – 23,371
  • City of North Vancouver:
    • Yes – 44.92%; 7,931 votes
    • No – 55.08%; 9,725 votes
    • Total votes – 17,656
  • City of Pitt Meadows:
    • Yes – 27.84%; 1,762 votes
    • No – 72.16%; 4,568 votes
    • Total votes – 6,330
  • City of Port Coquitlam:
    • Yes – 32.15%; 6,346 votes
    • No – 67.85 %; 13,394 votes
    • Total votes – 19,740
  • City of Port Moody:
    • Yes – 42.61%; 4,852 votes
    • No – 57.39%; 6,534 votes
    • Total votes – 11,386
  • City of Richmond:
    • Yes – 27.61%; 16,257 votes
    • No – 72.39%; 42,615 votes
    • Total votes – 58,872
  • City of Surrey:
    • Yes – 34.46%; 42,519 votes
    • No – 65.54%; 80,851 votes
    • Total votes – 123,370
  • City of Vancouver:
    • Yes – 49.19%; 103,431 votes
    • No – 50.81%; 106,818 votes
    • Total votes – 210,249
  • City of White Rock:
    • Yes – 40.74%; 3,139 votes
    • No – 59.26%; 4,566 votes
    • Total votes – 7,705
  • Corporation of Delta:
    • Yes – 32.16%; 11,589 votes
    • No – 67.84%; 24,448 votes
    • Total votes – 36,037
  • District of North Vancouver:
    • Yes – 44.61%; 14,569 votes
    • No – 55.39%; 18,093votes
    • Total votes – 32.662
  • District of West Vancouver:
    • Yes – 44.11%; 6,876 votes
    • No – 55.89%; 8,711 votes
    • Total votes – 15,587
  • Metro Vancouver Electoral Area A:
    • Yes – 58.57%; 1,586 votes
    • No – 41.43%; 1,122 votes
    • Total votes – 2,708
  • Township of Langley:
    • Yes – 25.03%; 9,890 votes
    • No – 74.97%; 29,619 votes
    • Total votes – 39,509
  • Tsawwassen First Nation:
    • Yes – 33.99%; 86 votes
    • No – 66.01%; 167 votes
    • Total votes – 253
  • Village of Anmore:
    • Yes – 37.88%; 303 votes
    • No – 62.13%; 497 votes
    • Total votes – 800
  • Village of Belcarra:
    • Yes – 52.15%; 158 votes
    • No – 47.85%; 145 votes
    • Total votes – 303
  • Village of Lions Bay:
    • Yes – 34.71%; 202 votes
    • No – 65.29%; 582 votes
    • Total votes – 582

Infographic of the vote results (click on the image for an enlarged version):

Image: Billy Koruna

Image: Billy Koruna

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Kenneth Chan Deputy Editor & Social Media Manager at Vancity Buzz. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and anything else that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]vancitybuzz.com
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