In 1974, when City of North Vancouver mayor Tom Reid learned of the province’s plans to launch the SeaBus service, he was “disgusted.” The city was planning to rezone the terminal land into commercial space. As the plan rolled out, he criticized it, publicly predicting it wouldn’t have enough ridership.
The Port of Vancouver’s manager said the SeaBus wouldn’t be allowed in his harbour until he was assured it could run safely around the shipping traffic.
Marine executive Victor Hodson, published an op-ed predicting the ferry would be threatened by winds, tides, unco-operative bus drivers and a lack of transit connections. “If ever there was a $46-million, 60-day wonder, this is it,” he wrote.
Municipal Affairs minister Hugh Curtis held a naming contest to see what the new cross-inlet service should be called, drawing a massive response, many of them acronyms not fit to print. B.C. Conservative leader Scott Wallace suggested it be called Curtis’ Regional Aid to Pedestrians, or CRAP.
Today the SeaBus carries more than 18,000 people per day, taking perhaps six- million vehicles per year off our congested bridges. Yet all the same fears about safety, ridership and traffic are coming up again, this time targeting the plan to bring B-Line bus service to Dundarave.
History is replete with doomsayers who have used fear to stand in the way of progress. As West Vancouver council deliberates the B-Line, we ask them to reflect on this history. We also ask them to think about their legacy. Will they be the council that gave in to the doomsayers? Or will they be the council that gave the greenlight to an express bus service future generations will scarcely believe the community once did without?
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