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Cultivating Community Resilience


February 2015

The Transportation Vote: Exploring Opportunities and Concerns
- A SPEC hosted forum on March 26th

Between March 16 and May 29, 2015, Metro Vancouverites will be facing one of the most important regional decisions affecting our and future generations: whether to approve or reject a 0.5 per cent increase in the provincial sales tax (PST) to support the implementation of multiple transit projects throughout Metro Vancouver.  Increasing the current 7  per cent PST to 7.5 per cent is estimated  to cost regional tax payers approximately $125 a year per household or 35 cents a day.  The new tax is projected to generate $250 million per year, helping fund a 10-year transit plan worth $7.5-billion in improvement projects. A list of proposed projects are outlined in the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan, and if approved, would be implemented by TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s regional transit authority.  A principal aim of the Plan is to shift 10 percent of current drivers off roads and onto transit, alleviating road congestion by an estimated 20 per cent. The Plan is slated to reduce congestion and air pollution while improving the regional economy and goods transportation in Metro Vancouver.

Since December 2014, voters have been slowly mobilizing behind either the “YES” or “NO” camp. In December, the “YES” vote was  in the lead,  however,  the  “NO TransLink Tax Campaign” is gaining momentum as many express concerns over TransLink’s ability to manage new transit projects as budgeted and planned. Many question whether there are other ways to fund the transit improvements without burdening visitors and residents with increased taxes. (For current trends and resource information, PlaceSpeak is a good source:!/overview).  

SPEC has a long history of supporting transit projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the health of our communities.  In the short term, the Plan hopes to expand bikeway networks and increase bus service by 24 per cent, adding bus capacity.  Over the long term, the Plan includes replacing the Pattullo Bridge, light rapid transit expansion in Surrey and South of the Fraser, increased capacity for the West Coast Express, and extension of the Millennium Line. According to TransLink, the Plan will improve service to 70 per cent of the population. Shifting drivers out of vehicles and on to alternative modes of transportation will have a positive impact on health and the economy. By reducing the number of cars on the road, we will benefit from improved air quality and commuters will experience a more active lifestyle. Both will result in improved health that could potentially reduce medical costs. Alleviating congestion is also associated with a reduction in the number of vehicular accidents and more efficient goods movement.

At the same time, it’s important to remember the Transportation Vote is not to seek support for the Plan itself, but to seek support on how to fund the Plan. Some voters are encouraging the use of alternative funding options that were considered by the Mayors. Some residents are asking whether the Provincial Government should contribute more to the Plan given their projected budget surplus, shifting the burden of an increase in the PST away from Metro Vancouver residents, visitors and businesses.

SPEC is committed to supporting community learning and better understanding of the Mayors’ Transportation Plan.  On March 26th, SPEC is hosting a forum titled, “The Transportation Vote: Exploring Opportunities and Concerns” at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. A panel will be available to respond to questions on the Transportation Plan and provide additional information to support your decision on how to vote.  More information will be available by March 10th. If you are interested in volunteering to help organize the forum, please contact

Register for this free event here.

School Garden Program: Digging in the dirt! 


Even though it's winter, the SPEC School Garden Program is busy with all kinds of projects and lessons. A few weeks ago, we were at Bayview Elementary School starting worm compost bins in the classrooms.  To see some pictures of this lesson, visit our School Gardens blog here

SPEC's 45th Anniversary Party - April 23rd - NEW DATE

You’re invited to SPEC’S 45th Anniversary Party on Thursday, April 23, 2015, at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

It will be a great party and an opportunity to celebrate SPEC’s achievements with other supporters, new and old.

Guest speakers: Andrea Reimer, Vancouver City Councillor, and others to be confirmed shortly.

There will be complimentary food, cash bar, music & dancing with DJ Marinho, silent auction and more!

Register for the event here.

If you know people in the historical photos below or know anyone who was involved with SPEC in the 70's, 80's and 90's we would be excited to her about them. Let us know at or call as 604-736-7732.
Photos from left to right, top to bottom:
i) SPEC team members  in 1971, ii) SPEC team members February 2015, iii) SPEC volunteers cleaning up oil washed onto West Vancouver's Ambleside beach following the 1973 oil tanker spill in English Bay, iv) Children participating in SPEC's School Garden Program this month.


SPEC is always eager to work with volunteers who want to make a positive impact on our urban environment.  There are many ways to become involved, be it at one-off events such as beach clean-ups or on one of our committees. 
At the moment, we are looking for volunteers to fill these positions: 
  • Graphic Designer: We need a graphic designer to help us put together our Annual Report using last year's template. Work to happen between March 1st and March 31st. 
  • Videographer/editor for the Zero Fossil Fuel video series. If you have some solid experience with filming, lighting and sound recording and would like to help we'd love to chat with you!
  • Public outreach volunteers to help SPEC's Waste Committee

    For more information or to apply, please contact
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