Growing Pains: The Challenges Facing Municipalities

Greater Vancouver’s municipalities are growing like never before and, thankfully, they have great leadership in place to propel their cities forward. From Surrey to Maple Ridge, the respective mayors have already accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. But while their economies continue to grow, so do the challenges they face.

Mayor Linda Hepner of Surrey

"One of the biggest challenges we are facing is on social disorder such as mental health, addictions, and homelessness. We need help from the provincial and federal level, we can’t do this alone."

Mayor Nicole Read of Maple Ridge

"We have two major challenges. The first is that our education system is seriously lacking, especially with children who have learning disabilities. Without the right support in school, these kids are prone to develop depression, addiction, and end up homeless. Our children’s social wellbeing is critical to our future economy. We need to invest in postsecondary schools and different learning models that prepare children for jobs of the future in fields like technology, computers, and engineering."

"The second issue is homelessness, which has increased 200% in a two-year period. We have residents who have been on the street for over 10 years.”

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Cliff Avenue camp set up in Maple Ridge but was dispersed in October 2015 [source]

Mayor Darrell Mussatto of City of North Vancouver

"Our transportation challenges are no secret. Our bridges are at capacity and our public transportation needs serious improvement. Without better transit, we won’t have any more growth in our city. The other issue is affordable housing. People who work in North Van can’t afford to live there anymore, which in turn is causing more traffic and contributing to the first challenge. Ten years ago, 70% of residents were leaving the North Shore to get to work. Now, 52% are coming into North Van to work, while only 48% are leaving. There’s been a big shift in traffic that’s causing so much volume on the roads."

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 The Second Narrows Bridge to North Vancouver [source]

Mayor Richard Walton of District of North Vancouver

"Our issues echo that of Mayor Mussatto. Each year, 35,000 people are moving to North Van. We simply don’t have enough transit or funding to improve it. We are now a commuter city, something that four years ago we weren’t."

Mayor Michael Smith of District of West Vancouver

"The people who moved here thirty years ago like it how it is. They don’t want change, and that’s our biggest challenge. They are an organized active group of people that oppose any type of development we propose, and they’re very successful at it. We need more affordable living so that younger generations and families can live here, or at least rent here."

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