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July 27,2009 Tri City News


There are few times in life where winging it is an acceptable practice. But that is exactly what the provincial government seems to expect the cities of Coquitlam and Port Moody to do when it comes to planning their communities’ futures.

Both cities are required to plan for development to meet their regional growth obligations and to put density in place to support the new Evergreen Line. But as yet, there is no builder, only a few station locations and much doubt as to whether there’s enough cash in the kitty to fund the $1.4-billion project.

Transportation Minister Shirley Bond says Evergreen is a go but won’t hike the province’s share of the cost even though TransLink has serious money problems. TransLink is so cash poor, it’s going cap in hand to taxpayers and may not have enough cash for a bike rack, let alone its one-third share of the rapid transit line after the mayors’ council decides on a long-term funding plan.

Without a funding guarantee, there’s no certainty. With no certainty, cities can’t plan for Evergreen Line — yet they are told they must. There’s a crack in that logic so wide, a Canada Line car could fit through, leaving enough room for one of those bulldozers working on the Highway 1 expansion.

(Speaking of which, Tri-City commuters, if you’re tired of being passed over for other more pressing — read “political” — road and transit projects, put up your hand or just idle in traffic. Oh, sorry, you’re already idling in traffic.)

It seems crazy to be planning cities without any guarantee of a rapid transit project that is supposed to be the spine of development. But that’s what’s happening and Moody and Coquitlam are flying blind, with the former trying to draft a new OCP and the latter considering strategies that would put more people around stations while reducing parking requirements.

Right now, 27 years since Coquitlam started planning for rapid transit, that looks like a recipe for failure or even the plot of a Hollywood North disaster flick: The Taking of Evergreen 123.

Sadly, we’ve seen this movie before, and we give it two thumbs down.

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