Aug 12,2010 Tri City News

By Diane Strandberg - The Tri-City News
Published: August 12, 2010 6:00 PM

A demand that developers buck up for a third Evergreen Line station to the tune of $20 million is unacceptable and would result in a forest of towers in Port Moody’s west end, warns the city’s mayor.

Joe Trasolini said he learned from a story last month in The Tri-City News that a third station in the western part of the city would have to be paid for with developers’ dollars, and he said the requirement is a new hurdle Tri-Cities residents shouldn’t have to jump.

“What we are talking about is moving the goal post,” Trasolini told The News. “The residents of the northeast sector have been funding stations all throughout the Lower Mainland. All of a sudden, the Ministry of Transportation is demanding the developer has to pay for the station.”

This is not the first time developers have been asked to contribute to a rapid transit station. That’s how the city of Vancouver got the Olympic Village Station added to the Canada Line, according to Evergreen Line project director Dave Duncan, who said in an earlier interview that PoMo can get a third station on the west end if it puts together a land use plan for increasing density by the end of this year and uses developers’ dollars to pay for it.

But Trasolini said the density required to pay for the third station is more than the area could handle and would mean adding 16,000 more people on the west side of the city and building 16 towers — the equivalent of all the buildings in Suter Brook, Klahanie and NewPort Village combined plus four more.

With the city’s population now roughly 32,000, “Port Moody would have to grow more than 50% to grow $20 million, then we’d have to fork over the full 20 million to pay for the station,” said Trasolini, who is concerned the city would have to forego money it usually gets from development that pays for roads and amenities such as parks. Noting that Inlet Centre development contributed $12 million toward city amenities, Trasolini said putting those dollars instead toward a rapid transit station would be both costly and unfair.

“My beef is with the fact that the people that have the political clout in building the Evergreen Line are now saying... notwithstanding all the other stations on the other lines, we’re going to deal with this one differently,” he said.

He plans to take the issue up with his fellow councillors at an Aug. 26 meeting set to examine the Evergreen Line’s environmental assessment review, which is currently up for public comment. He hopes to convince council to send a letter to Transportation Minister Shirley Bond and use official channels to clarify the issue. The Aug. 26 meeting will be held in the theatre at Inlet Centre at 4:30 p.m.

Construction for the Evergreen Line is supposed to start in early 2011, with an opening date late in 2014. Plans call for six stations with the potential of a further two, one in Port Moody and one in Coquitlam, if density and $20 million can be generated to pay for each.