Members of New Westminster City Council and the Vote Yes New West coalition were at local SkyTrain stations bright and early Monday morning to meet with transit users and promote the benefits of a Yes vote in the upcoming transportation and transit referendum.
As transit goers rushed to get to their destinations, Mayor Jonathan Cote and councillors Bill Harper and Chuck Puchmayr greeted them at the New Westminster SkyTrain station from 7 to 9 a.m.
“It’s been very busy,” Harper told the Record. “People are pretty receptive, but they’re on their way to work. They don’t have a lot of time to chit-chat.”
Harper said it appears there are a lot of people who still aren’t aware of the upcoming referendum.
“They’ve kind of heard about it, but they don’t really know the details,” he said. “This is the constituency that doesn’t vote.”
A new poll by Insights West indicated that 55 per cent of 1,604 respondents in Metro Vancouver recently indicated they plan to vote No in the upcoming referendum, while 33 per cent planned to vote Yes to the 0.1 per cent increase to the provincial sales in Metro Vancouver to cover transit and transportation improvements.
Cote, a member of the Mayors’ Council on regional transportation, still believes a Yes vote is possible.
“I think we are certainly facing an uphill battle,” he told the Record. “I think people are starting to finally pay attention to the referendum and what the referendum is about. All we can do is get as much information out about what’s included in the mayors’ transportation plan and we’ll see what happens. Definitely, we are in tough.”
Harper believes the critical factor will be getting supporters, including those who rely on transit and transportation enhancements, to send in their mail-in ballots.
“The real question isn’t the polls. What do you think about the polls in the last provincial election?” he said. “I think there is a huge amount of people who are undecided. I think the real question is who is voting. Those people, who are traditional voters, particularly in a municipal election, will have a better understanding of the general populace. They keep track.”
Councillors Lorrie Williams and Patrick Johnstone were at the Braid SkyTrain station and Jaimie McEvoy and Mary Trentadue took the 22nd Street SkyTrain station on Monday morning.
“It’s important we do anything we can do over the next two weeks to get out and talk to as many people as possible, and really talk about the benefits of the mayors’ plan,” Cote said. “I have been talking to a lot of people. Even when they tell me why they are voting No, a lot of it is for reasons about TransLink or even the provincial government or the federal government. To me, it’s trying to focus people on what this referendum is all about. It’s about investing in our transportation system.”