Canada’s North Shore Traffic Congestion: A cataclysmically Frayed Rope

lions gate bridge

Vancouver and its North Shores are considered among the worst congested areas in Canada. A recent column in the North Shore News by Jonathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver (“A Promising Step Forward on Congestion”, Friday, January 19th, 2018) calls for immediate action to address the ever-mounting traffic congestion on the North Shore.

North Shore residents and governments sorely do need to take some action to address its mounting traffic congestion, but what kind of action? The establishment of any kind of so-called Integrated North Shore Transportation Process will indeed most certainly fail in the long run because whatever analysis of the North Shore’s crippling traffic problems occurs it will never address the underlying fundamental cause behind the source of the North Shore’s crippling traffic problem; which is the ever-abiding predisposition of a philosophy that forever drives Canada’s municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments forward regarding what constitutes the future vision and direction of Canadian civilization.

The driving force of its civilization, since the arrival of its many emigrant European cultures, folowed now by a host of emigrant Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, have all been predicated upon perpetual economic and population growth that never has learned some critically important lessons from the North Shore an Canada’s original First Nation host nations about what it means to live in size and scope with wisdoms of understanding about such principles as: Living in Balance & Sustainability between the human, non-human and natural worlds. In short, the modern-day history of the immigrant, colonial North Shore fails to recognize one of the most important of all lessons of Reconciliation by continuing to follow a European, Asian, Middle Eastern philosophy and way of life that believes in the vision that Bigger or More is Always Better than an indigenous vision where Smaller or Less is Always More.

This is the root cause behind every pressing issue of the North Shore’s myriad pressing issues: transportation, traffic congestion, affordable housing, economic-community development, building codes, standards and variances and the lack thereof of the necessary kind of real collective vision needed to significantly change the direction and course of life on the North Shore.

Thus, the North Shore’s political and governmental infrastructure at the local, regional, provincial and federal levels, not to mention the majority of resident North Shore voters and general public, are incapable of implementing the kind of sweeping vision that is required.

If the issue happens to be some pandemic disease or world leader who threatens the world with nuclear annihilation, panic sets in and immediate steps are undertaken to eliminate the threat. But when it comes to curbing, say, population explosion or endless economic growth and expansion societies and civililization remain passive and fatalistic about the outcome.

So any notion of a so-called 30-year Translink Transportation strategy is utterly doomed to fail just as the need for more affordable housing, single family neighbourhoods, more green spaces and smaller scale density is doomed to fail until the North Shore has no other choice but to opt for a third or fourth bridge crossing, sky train tunnel and/or other major east-west thoroughfares until it finally hits the proverbial wall as it turns into some new 21st century form of an impacted Hong Kong, Mexico City or Metrotown on steroids.

At the end of the day, what is needed to “up our game” on the North Shore, as Jonathan Wilkinson puts it, isn’t more support transit, carpooling or vanpooling but a total rethink and re-visioning of where Canada originally came from, where it’s going, and what kind of collaboration, innovation and resolve is needed between all the immigrant and indigenous cultures of the North Shore. ‘Til then the ride will only continue to get hairer and the age-old cataclysmic metaphor of a frayed rope continues to unravel as governments and modern civilization forever futiley struggles to play catch-up with the endless chaos of development and population expansion!

First Nation peoples have lived in relative balance on the North Shore for thousands of years. But the way things are so rapidly spinning out of control now, begs the question, “Will the newcomer colonial races and cultures be able to also say they will likewise do the same in the future for as many more thousands of years, as well?”

Irwin Jerome: Author’s Bio Note: During the 1960’s and early 70’s Irwin lived with the Dakota and Lakota peoples on the Crow Creek Sioux & Oglala Sioux Reservations in South Dakota and later published the book, “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle island Odyssey” ( that documents their historical plight and those of other indigenous peoples on Turtle Island.


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