People Gotta Move — The Next Generation of Regional Transportation Leaders

On Friday, December 7th, the Vancouver Global Shapers, the Young Regional Leadership Collective, and the New Westminster Museum and Archives hosted a dialogue with newly elected Mayors, Councillors, and civic leaders from around Metro Vancouver.

Global Shaper George Benson and Katelyn McDougall from the Young Regional Leadership Collective moderating the session with (L:R) Mayor Jonathan Cote, Kevin Desmond, and Joy MacPhail.

The event, People Gotta Move — Next Generation of Regional Transportation Leaders, was structured around a conversation about the past, present, and future of transportation governance in the region:

  • Mayor Jonathan Cote, Chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, talked about his role as Chair, and his hopes and expectations for collaborating with his colleagues from across the region;
  • Joy MacPhail, former MLA, Chair of ICBC, and Co-Chair of the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission, talked about her experience with the creation of TransLink and how unlikely, bi-partisan, intergovernmental and personal relationships where what made reorganization of regional transportation governance possible in the 1990s;
  • Kevin Desmond, CEO of TransLink, talked about the development of the next iteration of TransLink’s regional transportation vision, and how his job is to collaborate with as much of the region’s public and as many of its leaders as possible.

Set as the backdrop to this conversation was New Westminster Museum’s exhibit, People Gotta Move, a Lego landscape that serves as a mash-up of what has been, what might have been, what is, and what could be, for the City’s transportation system.

New Westminster in Lego-form. (Jennifer Gauthier, New West Record)

The exhibit, though focused on just one City, was a provocation for leaders to consider just how bold and far-reaching they could be in pursuit of the next iteration of TransLink’s Regional Transportation Strategy.

The conversations between new Councillors and old, Mayors and young civic leaders, varied greatly. Some were gearing up for new campaigns and initiatives in their cities, while others were reflecting on what had already come to pass. Ultimately, in forging new relationships outside of the normal municipal boundaries, Councillors, TransLink, and other civic leaders, can be more effective in working on regional transportation priorities, and in achieving a truly robust 30-year vision. Implicit in these new relationships, and in the drive to build a new plan for the region, is a simple but profound question that we are now all on the path to answering:

When it comes to the future of our region, how bold can we be?

By George P.R. Benson / @georgeprbenson

With help from Katelyn McDougall / @katemac22