Feb 6,2008 Tri City News

The stalled Evergreen Line is about to rev up into high gear, with Coquitlam and Port Moody leading public discussions on route choices for the $1.4-billion rapid transit line.

For more than a year, the long-anticipated project was delayed while the province reviewed the business case and put its own stamp on the project by making it a candidate for a public private partnership (P3) — and on Friday announcing it had chosen a SkyTrain-type system.

Now, Tri-City residents and their municipal councils have slightly less than six weeks to have their say on the route — either a northwest line through Port Moody to Coquitlam or a southeast route along Lougheed Highway past Riverview in Coquitlam.

Coquitlam’s acting city manager, Ken Wright, confirmed that March 17 is the deadline for the region’s mayors to reach a consensus on the route.

“[The province] are expecting a decision from the cities on whether or not it will be a northwest or a southeast route,” Wright said. “Hopefully, that can be a unanimous decision.”

Coquitlam residents can get information and offer input a number of ways, including:

• A handout containing information and issues about both route choices which will be available in two weeks at city facilities and could be distributed through schools.

• A link will soon be live on the city of Coquitlam website, www.coquitlam.ca.

• An open house and town hall meeting will be held, the dates for which have not been confirmed.

• A display will be up at city hall.

• Advertisements will be placed in this newspaper about how and where to comment.

Port Moody residents will find out more at next Tuesday’s council meeting about how they can make their preference known. That’s when the city will roll out its plan for getting community input.

A town hall meeting will also be held, said Mayor Joe Trasolini, who said he has already been fielding calls and emails about the route.

“They see rapid transit as part and parcel of the smart growth route we have taken,” Trasolini said.

Coquitlam Coun. Brent Asmundson said PoMo already has West Coast Express and a southern route is needed to reach people in that part of the region, including Maillardville and the Fraser Mills site, which is slated for development as a mixed use community.