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Oct 20,2010 Tri City News


Port Coquitlam wants Metro Vancouver to include an Evergreen Line station in its downtown as part of the district’s regional growth plan.

On Monday night at a special council meeting, councillors voted unanimously to ask Metro to include a rapid transit extension to PoCo as one of its transportation goals in the Regional Growth Strategy.

And the city would like to see the station built as part of the first phase of the Evergreen Line construction.

“We know its the 11th hour,” said Mayor Greg Moore, “But we feel it is important to make our position clear.”

A quiet lobbying effort for the PoCo station has been underway for a while, Moore said. He and city staff met with the provincial minister of transportation and letters have been sent to the premier’s office explaining the need to bring the Evergreen Line to the municipality.

“We aren’t a council that gets on a soap box and negotiates out in the media all the time,” he said. “This is just another opportunity to let Metro Vancouver know how important this is for us.”

Moore said he envisions an Evergreen alignment that turns north from the CP Rail line to Coquitlam Town Centre before looping back to the train tracks heading toward PoCo. This alignment deviates from the current plans, which has the Evergreen Line terminus at Douglas College Station, next to the Evergreen Cultural Centre at the corner of Guildford and Pinetree ways.

PoCo’s plan would keep the college within a 10-minute walk of a SkyTrain station, Moore said.

Currently, Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy calls for the Evergreen Line to Coquitlam’s City Centre along with increased bus service to PoCo and Maple Ridge.

A city staff report said an Evergreen Line extension to downtown Port Coquitlam would facilitate residential and commercial growth in the area.

The city endorsed the draft Regional Growth Strategy during Monday’s special meeting, although several councillors had some issues with the document.

Metro’s population projections anticipate 85,000 people living in PoCo by 2041, a number that exceeds the city’s predictions in its official community plan, said Coun. Michael Wright.

But staff said the city is not bound by the housing projections, which are calculated on a needs-based estimate.

“I think at the end of the day what we are looking for is achieving the target of the forecast population,” said Laura Lee Richard, the city’s director of development services. “Fortunately, the Regional Growth Strategy does not commit the city to meeting those targets.”

Some councillors also had concerns that industrial lands were not adequately protected in the Regional Growth Strategy.

If all of the municipalities endorse the plan as PoCo did Monday night, Metro Vancouver will begin its public consultation process, likely in late fall.

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