British Columbia

Traffic woes forcing North Vancouver businesses to relocate

North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce CEO Patrick Stafford-Smith says traffic issues are making it difficult for businesses in the region to attract employees and many are considering relocating as a result.

North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce says 40% of members are considering leaving the region

The Second Narrows Bridge is one of the main commuter arteries in and out of North Vancouver. Traffic congestion in the region is causing businesses to consider relocating elsewhere to make life easier for commuting employees. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Traffic congestion to Vancouver's North Shore is so bad that some business owners have left the region and several others could follow suit, according to the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. 

The chamber surveyed 153 of its members and found 40 per cent are considering relocating outside of North Vancouver and 23 per cent are contemplating closing shop altogether. 

Chamber CEO Patrick Stafford-Smith said that while he does not have exact numbers yet, there are local businesses who have already abandoned the area. 

"This is serious stuff. We have businesses trying to work with staff and service sector employees and they can't get to work right now," Stafford-Smith told All Points West host Jason D'Souza.

"If you can't get people to work, it impacts businesses, livelihoods and communties."

'They just shrug their shoulders and leave'

Stafford-Smith said transportation is the number one business and economic issue for North Vancouver across all business sectors.

"Eventually, they just shrug their shoulders and leave."

Stafford-Smith said employees are commuting to the North Shore from across Metro Vancouver and without a long-term infrastructure and transportation plan, their commutes will continue to be long and frustrating.

"We have had an infrastructure deficit for the last 20 to 30 years in Metro Vancouver, particularly on the North Shore and looking ahead 50 years we need a legacy that we can leave the next generation," said Stafford-Smith.

'We need some bold moves'

The chamber is hoping the provincial and federal governments will invest in a long-term solution.

"We need some bold moves. An investment needs to be made and paid for," said Stafford-Smith.

In the short term, Stafford-Smith said the chamber is working with businesses to find immediate solutions, including car-pooling and ride-sharing for commuters. 

With files from All Points West.


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