Metro Vancouver’s board is being drawn into the debate on whether the $1.4-billion Evergreen Line to Coquitlam should run through Port Moody or the Riverview Hospital lands to the southeast.
Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini is campaigning for the region’s directors to back the northern route through his city.
Metro directors began debating his motion last week, but the meeting ended without a decision and a final vote is delayed until the board meets again March 28.
Tri-City councils are holding town hall meetings with residents to gauge local support for the two routes. The province has decided to use SkyTrain technology, rather than the previously light rail system.
Trasolini said his motion is based on Metro’s 11-year-old Livable Region Strategic Plan, which specified the route through Port Moody.
“What is it are we revisiting here?” he asked. “As far as Metro Vancouver is concerned, there’s only one choice.”
A new regional growth strategy is being developed now by the regional government, replacing the LRSP.
Trasolini said that process and continued regional planning by Metro is pointless unless regional transportation and land-use planning are coordinated, which he argues won’t happen if the Evergreen Line follows Lougheed Highway.
“It’s imperative you have the two working hand in hand,” he said. “Or else you’re going to be spending the very scarce dollars put aside for transportation in areas where it doesn’t support growth.”
Coquitlam Mayor Maxine Wilson said it’s premature for her to take a public position on the issue until the community consultations wrap up.
She asked why Trasolini and his council are continuing to listen to the public at local meetings if they’ve “already made up their minds.”
The province has set a March 17 deadline for the Tri-City councils to try to reach a consensus on the preferred route.