TransLink board ‘negligent’ on SkyTrain shutdowns

Metro Vancouver mayors critical of rapid transit system emergency preparedness

TransLink’s appointed board of directors must take ultimate responsibility for senior managers’ failure to anticipate and prevent this month’s SkyTrain shutdowns.

That’s the position of Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew, who called the unelected board “negligent” in failing to drill down and uncover the system’s vulnerabilities to emergency conditions.

“It really begs the question what has the TransLink board been doing over the years in terms of ensuring those priority issues were properly addressed?” Drew said at a regional mayors’ council meeting Tuesday. “They just took it on blind faith. The buck stops with the board.”

Board chair Marcella Szel said the board has had high-level briefings on SkyTrain’s  emergency plan but not the fine details.

“Unfortunately it takes incidents to teach us that it didn’t work,” she said.

The exchange happened as Szel and TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis were outlining an independent review to recommend steps to improve TransLink’s response to major shutdowns or emergencies.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said he hopes there’s public support to spend necessary money on backup systems to reduce the probability of future incidents.

“We know that emergency planning doesn’t get votes and no one demands it until the emergency happens.”

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said she has lost faith in the system after her medically ill daughter was trapped on a hot, crowded SkyTrain car between New Westminster and Scott Road stations July 21 while her oxygen tank was running low.

“It was a very scary thing for me and for her,” Jackson said. “I was actually panicking. There were a lot of people on those trains and without air conditioning it was very difficult.”

Jackson told Jarvis and Szel major changes must be made to restore trust.

“The people that are using the system, with all due respect, don’t believe all of us that we’re going to fix it.”

In response to a question from Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Jarvis said the review by Gary McNeil will also examine the Canada Line, not just the Expo and Millennium lines.

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

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Staff members at Surrey Pretrial test positive for COVID-19

Ministry of Public Safety says employees tested positive between Oct. 18 and 23

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read