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July 19,2006

Coquitlam reacts to LRT delay

By Brooke Larsen - Staff Reporter

Coquitlam councillors say they're sick of waiting for their train to arrive, following news that the Evergreen Line could be delayed another two years.

"I really want TransLink's board to understand that we're not waiting any longer," Coun. Richard Stewart said at a council meeting Monday.

"We're going to get rapid transit out here, and we're going to get it on time."

A TransLink report released last week recommends postponing the opening of the line until 2011 to help manage costs, which are expected to pass $1 billion if the project meets its current deadline of December 2009.

The TransLink board is scheduled to vote on the recommendation today (Wednesday).

Coun. Mae Reid was skeptical that putting off the line's opening would save money.

"They must have great crystal ball access," Reid said. "How does anybody know what steel is going to cost in 2010 and 2011?

"We don't know what's going to happen when the Olympics come.

"I think the real reason is that they have to get the Canada Line finished ... so we're waiting."

"Who knows?" Coun. Louella Hollington said. "We've been disappointed so many times that it could be another 10 years."

Coun. Lou Sekora said TransLink should consider corporate partnerships to offset some of the costs.

"It looks like it's 2011, it might be 2013, might be beyond that," he said.

"I feel like we in the Tri-Cities seem to be looked at as a second cousin.

"Everything gets done everywhere else but the Tri-Cities."

Mayor Maxine Wilson, who sits on the TransLink board, said the regional transportation authority is talking with both the federal and provincial governments about getting more funding for the line, adding that she's confident it will be built by 2011.

"I think, with the encouragement of councils like ours, we will see the Evergreen Line coming to Coquitlam Centre and Douglas College, even though it will be 2011."

Plans for the Evergreen Line include 10 stations over more than 11 kilometres, linking Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam and connecting with SkyTrain, the West Coast Express and bus routes.

published on 07/19/2006

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