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Nov 29,2006

Mayors meet to discuss homelessness, rapid transit

Northeast sector mayors met Friday to discuss two unrelated issues that have been on the minds of many Tri-Cities residents: rapid transit and homelessness.

The group - which includes mayors from Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, Belcarra, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Burnaby and New Westminster - have met every few months for the past several years.

Friday, they adopted a resolution calling on TransLink to begin planning for the extension of light rapid transit to Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge in 2007.

At a news conference earlier this year, TransLink chair Malcolm Brodie warned that if senior levels of government do not plug a $400-million funding gap in the Evergreen Line that is proposed for Port Moody and Coquitlam, TransLink will shelve the project.

With that in mind, a majority of northeast sector mayors also resolved Friday to urge the province to "take the lead, in partnership with the federal government, to fund the shortfall for the Evergreen Line and that the funding be in place by April 2007 so that construction can start as scheduled in September 2007."

On the issue of homelessness, the mayors urged both the federal and provincial governments to provide "meaningful funding" for drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres where treatment is available on demand, as well as transition housing for recovering addicts and supportive housing for those with mental illness.

They also resolved that a meeting be held with Premier Gordon Campbell "as soon as possible to discuss meaningful funding."

"It is critical the communities within the northeast sector work closely together in setting priorities when it comes to speaking about the services needed by our citizens from senior governments," Maple Ridge Mayor Gord Robson said in a news release.

"The resolutions coming from this meeting indicate a strong degree of collaboration on behalf of all our constituents. The result cannot help but be positive when we speak with such a strong voice."

published on 11/29/2006

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