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Jan 11,2006

Tri-Cities mayors now make up one-quarter of TransLink board

By Leneen Robb - Staff Reporter

The Tri-Cities scored a coup Friday, when all three of its mayors were elected to the TransLink board, which is composed of a dozen representatives of Lower Mainland municipalities.

Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini won the member-at-large position by acclamation, but he says he earned the spot: "When you do hard work behind the scenes, at the end of the day, you get acclaimed."

Trasolini said he will aim to be a sounding board for "individuals who feel that they haven't been heard, (so) they have a place to go and ask questions and inquire and lodge complaints and have some issues aired."

Locally, he will focus on major projects, such as the Evergreen Line rapid transit extension to Coquitlam Town Centre.

"In that regard, I want to make sure that the project proceeds as it was designed to proceed and that stakeholders have a say in the design," he said, "be it residents, businesses, community groups ... We want to make sure that it is built to meet the needs of the northeast sector and that it fits in in our neighbourhood, rather than being imposed from the top down."

Port Coquitlam Mayor Scott Young said the fact that a Tri-Cities mayor has been chosen for the member-at-large position shows that "there is some recognition that this is indeed a growing part of the region."

He said as a TransLink director he will focus on making sure there are no "additional hidden costs" associated with the Canada Line that will run from downtown Vancouver to Vancouver International Airport.

And he said having three local mayors on the TransLink board will help ensure that the Tri-Cities' Evergreen Line "meets expectations of residents and provides valuable service."

Young is still loyal to Port Coquitlam, and he said now is a good time to begin seeking federal funds for an eastward expansion of the Evergreen Line (which is currently funded only by the province and TransLink).

"It sure would be nice to get some federal dollars assisting for a very rapidly growing part of Western Canada," he said.

Coquitlam Mayor Maxine Wilson will round out the Tri-Cities membership at TransLink, and she said having so much representation at the board is a good thing for local residents.

"I think we're going to work together well as a region," she said. "We've already had a meeting, and I think it will be a very productive timing in getting rapid transit out to the northeast.

"There's a real sense of co-operation in the northeast right now, and I think that'll translate into how TransLink is operating, too."

published on 01/11/2006

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