Richmond is in an advantageous location being the “gateway to the Gateway” for Asia, Canada and the United States.
Vancouver International Airport is a vital link for business, travel, and the movement of goods. As our population grows, one would expect to see a conservative and incremental approach for new development to meet new markets. This simply must happen because YVR is of significant economic importance to Richmond and the Lower Mainland as a whole.
However, there are inherent concerns with YVR’s proposed future plans and we should not simply have growth at all cost.
Firstly, YVR’s proposed third runway positioning will need to be justified as it will create a considerable increase in the number of Richmond residents exposed to aircraft noise. Richmondites do not want to be known as “the city under the flight path”. A new south runway is just not in the cards for Richmond residents – our quality of life and liveability is at stake here. The foreshore runway needs to be closely examined as to impact as well as any other expansion options.
Secondly, implementing dedicated travel lanes along Russ Baker Way and adding tolls to the Arthur Laing Bridge is unacceptable and a non-starter. This will only add to further gridlock by taking away existing transport capacities from non-airport users. Tolls normally come about as a result of increased services, but in this case it would simply act as a punitive deterrent.
YVR is the spirit of cooperation needs to appreciate municipal and community input. Communication is paramount for any expansion to take place. A few open houses telling of their plans will not do as this must be a continual and expansive process.
Perhaps the best route is for Transport Canada to initiate a Regional Airport strategy, exploring options such as shifting smaller traffic to regional airports. The circle must get bigger.
Overall planning must take must take place at all levels for YVR to successfully expand in to the future. If they fail to do so, our quality of life will be the one to suffer.
Richmond City Councillor