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Jan 13,2006

Coquitlam plans to oversee LRT planning

By Leneen Robb - Staff Reporter

Coquitlam plans to spend more than $220,000 on consultants to oversee planning and construction of the Evergreen Line - a light-rail transit (LRT) system that will connect Lougheed Mall with the city's growing Town Centre area.

Monday, the city's new committee of the whole received a staff report detailing why Coquitlam needs to appoint its own watchdogs to the project.

Planning and development boss Jim McIntyre wrote that, "Based on the experience of this and other municipalities with the previous Millennium SkyTrain project," the city needs to review TransLink's plans and designs, taking into account the potential implications for other modes of travel (including walking, cycling, riding the bus and driving). McIntyre also said the review needs to assess the impact the proposed line will have on private properties, as well as on public assets and services such as above- and below-ground utilities.

"To advance these issues effectively and in a timely manner, intensive work will be needed to anticipate, identify and then advocate solutions that promote the complex municipal transportation and land-use objectives," McIntyre wrote, "that may not be the focus of the regional project planning and delivery."

The $221,200 council is preparing to spend on planning and engineering consultants will come mostly from its transportation development cost charge (DCC) expenditure fund.

The rest will come from a matching DCC reserve fund.

A "system safety audit" will eat up about $25,000 of the total amount, as will a "route-side property impact assessment."

While much of the proposed LRT line will run through Port Moody, that city's mayor says the smaller size of his community means there aren't enough funds to hire consultants to oversee the project.

In an interview earlier this week, however, Mayor Joe Trasolini said that while Port Moody will not dedicate a staff person to the project, it will make sure residents' voices are heard through public consultation. That consultation will include a task force, a model Trasolini said worked well when the city's north shore roads were under construction.

The Evergreen Line is scheduled to be completed by 2009.

Coquitlam council still has to formally approve the hiring of consultants, a move that is expected to come Monday.

published on 01/13/2006

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