Mar 21,2008 The Now News
Leneen Robb, Coquitlam NOWPublished: Friday, March 21, 2008
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon is expected to announce his route choice for the Evergreen Line at a Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce luncheon on April 18, but local politicians believe he's already chosen the northwest route through Port Moody.
Falcon spoke at an Urban Development Institute (UDI) luncheon last Friday, and Coquitlam Mayor Maxine Wilson was there.
"He basically said, 'I announced the technology, gave the northeast a choice of two routes and stated my preference as the northwest route and now that the municipalities have all reached consensus, that should be the route, we should be able to move ahead quickly,'" Wilson said of the minister's comments.
Provincial Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon is expected to announce his Evergreen Line route choice at a Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce luncheon on April 18. NOW file photo
"I can't remember the exact words, but it very much was of the concept, 'Well, now it appears that we have consensus on the northern alignment from the Tri-Cities, we can just get on with it,'" Dilworth said.
"It was something like that, and I was sitting at the table with a number of other politicians and we're sort of like, 'Was that an announcement or was that not an announcement?'"
Both Dilworth and Wilson expect Falcon to make a formal announcement at the chamber luncheon.
"We're just anxiously awaiting the go-ahead," Wilson said.
Maureen Enser is executive director of the Pacific region branch of the UDI, a Vancouver-based non-profit association of the development industry with 400 corporate members.
She drew a similar conclusion from Falcon's comments.
"I think what he said was that response so far has been that the (northwest) line was the one that seemed most popular and that, based on that, whatever seems to work, be the most popular, is where the government would go," she said.
As a Tri-Cities resident, Enser is aware of the importance of route choice for this area, and said she was surprised that the Vancouver broadcast and print media that usually cover UDI events did not attend Falcon's talk.
"I was a bit baffled, because normally we would have people there, especially in speaking to something like this."
A description of the April 18 luncheon on the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce website states that the Evergreen Line "is moving from idea to reality," and invites local business people to attend for an update from Falcon.
The other route choice Falcon gave municipalities as part of his 45-day consultation period, which ended Monday, was a southeastern route that would have passed by Riverview Hospital. That route ignited controversy as soon as it was announced, with environmentalists saying it would lead to development of the green space left on the Riverview lands.