Earlier today, the Big City Mayor's Caucus (BCMC) released a shopping list of infrastructure projects they would like the federal government to fund in the upcoming budget. They are all described under the heading of "Shovel Ready" projects. This term is defined as items not included on the capital budgets of municipalities, but with additional (Federal) funding could get underway.
We don't know what the BCMC is shoveling, but it's doesn't appear to be the creation of infrastructure judging by one item on the list: a study for a Second Narrow Crossing to Metro Vancouver's North Shore.
That is, unless you're a fish and planning to swim across the inlet. We wonder how is funding a study able to put a shovel in the ground?
Buried in the shovel ready list is a request from Metro Vancouver for $4.5 million to fund the "Second Narrow Crossing (Tunnel) - Design".
There has been a lot of talk over the years of adding a third crossing, and this could well be the first real tangible step in doing so. North Shore residents have complained, with some justification, that major transportation infrastructure in the region has too often passed them by.
Notably absent from the Metro Vancouver Mayor's priority list however were any requests for new social housing developments. In fact, if you review the spreadsheet which resembles more of a 'Santa's wish list' than a true budget submission, it would appear that the only requests to fund public housing have come from the Ontario region.
All of the requests coming from the Metro Vancouver area are categorized as either "water and wastewater" or "solid waste". Nothing from MV is listed under the public housing category. Mayor Gregor Robertson, and his Surrey counterpart Dianne Watts, have been reported by the media as going to the Big City Mayor's conference to advocate for social housing.
Given that Vancouver alone is trying to secure funding for at least 12 new social housing projects which have already received City approval, their absence from the list seems a bit odd. Especially when you juxtapose this against the recent statements by Mayor Watts and Robertson.
Our crack research team will continue to scour the hundreds of pages of documents and provide you with additional insight and analysis into the Big City Mayor priorities in the coming days.