[Editor's note: This entry was written by Greg Knott of the
Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board (NEA
Sometimes someone says something so perfect you wish you could
take credit for it. At least I do. I'm lucky to have the pleasure
of being in the company of some of the brightest minds in our
province today and I get to hear statements that summarize things
so perfectly they stop me in my tracks.
I had the pleasure recently of organizing a dialogue session on
regional public transit in partnership with Happy City St. John's.
My role in the meeting was as co-facilitator and recorder. I never
said it, but I wish I had said this brilliant phrase:
"Transportation is foundational to everything in society."
Those six words, 18 syllables, so profoundly captured the
message of the meeting it made me shiver. The meeting was attended
by representatives of several municipalities in the region,
Metrobus, and people representing organizations with expertise in
community, social, and business development.
Few truer statements have ever been spoken. The creation of a
strong and comprehensive regional transportation network is
essential to community growth and sustainability. The northeast
Avalon region is the second largest metro region in Atlantic Canada
and twentieth largest in the country. But as of this writing, there
is one regional transit network and only includes routes in St.
John's and Mount Pearl. There is no transportation network reaching
into the rest of the towns surrounding St. John's and Mount
Tens of thousands of people in the region have no access to
public transportation. The province and especially the northeast
Avalon is experiencing unprecedented growth. Thousands of economic
immigrants are arriving from places that have large public
transportation networks and are expecting similar services when
A survey released before the public transportation dialogue
showed that 89% of the 359 people that completed the survey had
used public transit elsewhere in the world. Convenient routes were
mentioned by 92% of people as the best part of systems they've used
elsewhere in the world.
Regional public transit is essential in our province today as a
means to address the growing labour force shortages; as a way to
get unemployed people to the businesses looking to fill positions;
to help address rising health care costs by enabling people without
access to transportation to seek treatment earlier; to help address
traffic congestion on our streets and highways as mega-projects
ramp up and urban sprawl creeps farther and farther afield; and to
help address environmental issues and personal energy consumption
costs by removing vehicles from the road. The positive effects of
regional public transit are endless.
Those that came to the meeting agreed that cooperation from the
community along with support from municipalities and the government
is essential to creating a strong public transit system. The
Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board will continue
to work with Happy City St. John's to advocate at the community
level and create opportunities for public discussion to move this
important topic forward.
We hope you'll join the dialogue and share your thoughts with
us, with your friends, family, and neighbours, and with decision
makers at all levels of government.
Economic Development Officer
Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board