Rethink ‘doomed’ transit referendum, Corrigan urges

Burnaby mayor a holdout as Metro Vancouver board endorses TransLink upgrade vision

Metro Vancouver board chair and Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore

Metro Vancouver board chair and Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan warned Friday the expected transit tax referendum next spring is “doomed” and reiterated his opposition to the TransLink expansion plan supported by other Metro Vancouver mayors.

The issue came up at the Nov. 28 Metro Vancouver board meeting where directors discussed how the regional district should respond to the province’s call for input on a separate 10-year provincial transportation plan.

Metro mayors want Transportation Minister Todd Stone to adopt their $7.5-billion vision as the top transportation priorities for the region.

But Corrigan – who was the lone vote against the vision last June – said he still believes it is too aggressive and should be scaled down to a slimmer list of projects that has a better chance of winning public support.

“This plan is incredibly ambitious,” he told the board. “We need a more realistic plan, a more priorized plan.”

Corrigan suggested the vision is more of a “wish list” that risks allowing the province to instead pick and choose what projects will proceed, rather than the region.

Mayors are to meet in the first two weeks of December to hammer out a final request to the province for new taxes – potentially a vehicle levy, regional sales tax or regional carbon tax.

RELATED: Analysis: Referendum is challenge like no other in TransLink’s tortured history

Corrigan predicts failure of the referendum – a condition for any new taxes set by the premier – and won’t participate, calling the whole concept bad public policy.

“I can’t support involving ourselves in a process which I think is doomed and is going to be incredibly divisive,” he said. “We will just be spinning our wheels.”

Metro Vancouver board chair Greg Moore said most other mayors think the proposed transit improvements, including the Broadway subway and light rail in Surrey, are essential.

“The rest of us think this is the minimum we need to do to have a livable region,” said Moore, the mayor of Port Coquitlam.

The Metro board voted to send a letter to the province endorsing the mayors’ council vision for TransLink while also arguing in favour of land-use planning to concentrate growth along transit corridors. Corrigan and two other directors were opposed.

Actions requested of the province include ensuring government offices are located in areas well served by transit and that Victoria support the planned Experience The Fraser Canyon to Coast trail network.

Moore said the regional district is also pressing the province to respond to its unanswered questions about plans to replace the Massey Tunnel with a bridge.

He said the province’s consultation paper on its new transportation plan, dubbed On The Move, made almost no mention of transit, while highways were mentioned 14 times.

“It seems to be a somewhat preordained plan,” he said.

The mayors’ council on transportation sent a separate letter to Stone.

Besides seeking support for the TransLink vision, the council also asked the province to endorse a move to road pricing over five to eight years and to review the provincial tolling policy to enable the major tolling reforms that would be required.

It suggests a Mobility Pricing Independent Commission be created to oversee the initiative.

White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin told the board he would like to see the province support a rerouting of the BNSF rail line away from the White Rock-Crescent Beach waterfront.

He cited past landslides along the line and the threat that future ones could hit a train carrying dangerous chemicals.

“It’s a potential environmental disaster with loss of life that would make Lac Mégantic look like child’s play,” Baldwin said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

The Rotary Club of South Surrey is planning to host another shredding event on April 17, 2021.(Contributed file photo)
South Surrey Rotarians to host shredding event

April 17 fundraiser to offer secure shredding by donation

Surrey Fire Service is on scene of a fire in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue Saturday morning (April 10). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews on scene of house fire

It happened in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

Most Read