Canadians for
 Direct Democracy (CDD)

Direct Democracy -- the right of citizens
to hold referenda on any issue

Since 1998 Skytrain has been fast-tracked in Vancouver. Everyone favours public transit. Not everyone is convinced that Skytrain is cost-effective, or that there has been adequate public consultation (never mind participation followed by referendum).

What follows are just a very few of CDD activites to oppose various aspects of Skytrain. Some links to other sites:

Protesters shut down SkyTrain construction

August 10, 2000
By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun

Protesters shut down SkyTrain construction

The Vancouver Sun Kevin Griffin Vancouver Sun

A group of about 25 east Vancouver residents angry about the SkyTrain extension going through the Grandview Cut shut down the multi-billion dollar construction project early Wednesday by blocking access by dump trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles.

Although the blockade was over by noon, when protesters voluntarily left the site, it is unclear what will happen today: the Friends of the Grandview Cut wouldn't say if they will resume their protest, and Rapid Transit Project 2000 Ltd. wouldn't say whether it will seek a B.C. Supreme Court injunction against further disruption of the work.

"It was a success in the sense that we stopped them," protest coordinator Robert Sarti said.

"But they're still destroying the Cut with their clearcutting. We've moved into the next phase of surprise tactics."

Janis Hanen, a homeowner who lives at McLean and East Seventh Avenue, said she got involved in the protest because she thinks cutting down trees and removing bushes along the Cut for SkyTrain will reduce the air quality in Greater Vancouver.

She said the Grandview Cut is the second largest greenspace in Vancouver next to Stanley Park. Hanen said it doesn't make sense to remove green space in east Vancouver when that side of the city has much less park land per capita than the west side of Vancouver.

Hanen and other community protesters want an in-depth public review and environmental assessment of the project before work continues.

Teresa Watts, director of systems designs for the Rapid Transit Project, said no work will occur if protesters were are present.

"We're not going to work where it may endanger people's lives," Watts said.

Asked if RTP would seek a court injunction to stop the protesters, Watts responded: "We're assessing the situation and our response will be appropriate."

Watts pointed out that the RTP has already engaged in extensive public consultation with area residents. However, numerous community groups have come out against SkyTrain construction in the Cut, including the Strathcona Residents Association and the Mount Pleasant Community Centre Association.

The Grandview Cut is two kilometres long and 50 metres wide. It was created in the early 1900s when the Great Northern Railway and Canadian Northern Pacific Railway began to fill in the eastern end of Vancouver's marshy False Creek using excavated material from the Cut.

A rail line currently runs in the Cut, carrying several freight and passenger trains daily.

If the SkyTrain route continues as planned, it will run along the south slope of the Cut to an elevated station at the north end of Vancouver Community College's King Edward campus.

RTP says a tunnel under Broadway -- the option many residents prefer -- would have required cut-and-cover tunneling on Broadway between Glen Drive and a location just west of Clark Drive.

Presentation to GVRD

July 26th, 2000
By Colin Stark


Mr. Chair, Directors

Thank you for this opportunity to speak. I have spent 40 years in Canada, 21 in Vancouver -- Semi-retired for 5 years, I was an engineer and manufacturing manager, involved in 4 major factory construction projects. I am an environmentalist who puts more miles on my bicycle and public transit than on my motorcycle. So I generally favour the expansion of Transit

For 3 years I have belonged to a non-profit group CDD -- this group believes that citizens should have the right to hold a referendum on any issue. So I am here to speak to the PROCESS of Public Consultation

I believe that these Rapid Transit issues -- like MANY contentious issues, where public opinion is split -- can BEST be resolved by a referendum of all the people of the municipalities involved.

For the past 1-2 years I have taken part in several public processes -- most recently two held by RTP 2000, on the Skytrain through East Vancouver and Grandview Cut.

None of these consultation procedures were close to ideal, but the RTP 2000 ones were abominable, manipulative, evasive, and created a great deal of anger in all who attended. It is this blatant propaganda that impelled me to appear here today -- while I realize that you did not sponsor these consultations, you and the City of Vancouver participated in them, and as far as the Public is concerned, GVRD and RTP 2000 are one and the same [-- and RTP 2000 can be totally inaccessible -- they did not even return my phone call.]

One particular question I asked repeatedly was QUOTE I seek: -- reports comparing the merits of the route through the Cut from Slocan to Commercial with other possibilities -- e.g. Grandview Highway, Broadway, 10th Ave, etc. UNQUOTE

-- after asking questions at 2 public meetings; after several phone calls and e-mails, and web references -- I will not bore you with all the exhausting details of my conversations with at least 6 public officials, Ms Jane Bird, of Vancouver City finally e-mailed me -- I can supply the exact quote -- to the effect that NO such reports exist PAUSE I believe that you, GVRD, are between a rock and a hard place on the East Side, on the Arbutus Corridor, on increased car taxation, on the whole explosive mixture.

For further evidence let me quote Vancouver Sun columnist Pete McMartin -- I trust that you have all read the full column

BCTV sent a crew to ask eastsiders what they thought of: QUOTE "westsiders' objections to having a rapid transit line rammed through Kerrisdale, just as one was rammed through the eastside" UNQUOTE AND QUOTE "Rather than going public, all she had to do was take her westside councillors aside and very gently but firmly inform them that if the city even entertained the thought of allowing so much as a hiking trail down the Arbutus corridor, she and all her wealthy friends would do everything in their substantial power to hand them their political heads on a platter" UNQUOTE

Speakers at the Vancouver Arbutus Corridor hearings made many excellent points including: -- citizens no longer trust Council to make decisions on these major issues !!! -- citizens fear Skytrain, and fear that it will be bulldozed through -- Skytrain is prohibitively expensive -- several Councillors echoed these same opinions to various degrees -- the public depends on you -- municipalities, GVRD, RTP 2000 -- to make available to us ALL the Feasibility Studies, and to hold meaningful consultations -- I do not believe that you have done so on the Grandview Cut, or on MANY critical aspects of Skytrain. But I do believe that the way out of this dilemma can be very simple -- it is the same process that GVRD should follow on ANY major contentious issue -- PUT IT TO A REFERENDUM OF THE PEOPLE -- then those who win will bless you -- and those who lose are much more likely to accept a majority decision.

Moreover many citizens, like myself, may actually start to have faith in Democracy again

This process of referendum -- often referred to as "Direct Democracy" -- has been used in Switzerland for 140 years. It is not new. In 1991 a provincial referendum asked -- did the people want to have the power to initiate referenda? -- the answer was "83% -- yes"

How can GVRD lose in calling a referendum when 83% of the people favour referenda ??

I personally believe that these issues can ONLY be resolved in a satisfactory manner by a referendum, after 3 months or more of a TRULY PARTICIPATIVE PUBLIC PROCESS.

There are many more reasons to favour Referenda -- my written submission gives website references to many of these reasons (opening two pages of

In Summary

I call on GVRD to freeze all planning on Skytrain West of Commercial and East of Lougheed Mall until a referendum of ALL Lower Mainland citizens is held.

I further call on GVRD to halt all planning on the existing Broadway Skytrain until a TRULY PARTICIPATIVE PUBLIC PROCESS is held, followed by a referendum. Thank you

Colin Stark Canadians for Direct Democracy


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