Public outcry over an inadequate consultation process and poor information flow surrounding the proposed United Boulevard Extension (UBE) appears to have struck a chord with TransLink.
TransLink has announced that an additional UBE public information session will now be held on December 7th at the Justice Institute in New Westminster.
The details, as provided by TransLink, are as follows:
Presentation and discussion session 6:00 P.M.* to 8:30 P.M.
At the Justice Institute
715 McBride Boulevard
*Presentation in the Theatre begins at 6:45 P.M., followed by a discussion.
Although we applaud TransLink for recognizing that the previous session at the JI was not well received by the public, we would also like to see a commitment by TransLink and the City of New Westminster to a full and open discussion at the December 7th session along with a commitment to provide full information on the subject.
We recognize that TransLink and the City of New Westminster have different mandates and functions. However, New Westminster is a member of TransLink, and for one party to feign ignorance of the activities of the other is simply not acceptable to the public.
We are also aware that subsequent to the last UBE session New Westminster expressed its desire to have three of the proposed options removed.
However, shouldn’t the options presented to the public at the last session have been agreed to by the two parties prior to the public meeting?
As a number of people have commented, the last session at the JI was characterized by chaos, confusion and political point scoring. New Westminster’s intrepid mayor even weighed in and called the meeting a “donnybrook.”
For the December 7th session we recommend that the City make it very clear which UBE options it will and will not entertain.
The City should also make clear what its intentions are regarding a Waste to Energy site in the Braid Industrial Area.
And although we are very aware that a decision has not yet been made by the Province regarding a solid waste management strategy for the Metro region, we do not want to see a repeat of the last Waste to Energy initiative for the Braid Industrial Area which saw New Westminster residents misled by the City as to City’s position and intentions on the issue.
Additionally, the City needs to be completely forthcoming regarding the nature and content of its negotiations with the City of Coquitlam on the UBE. We feel it’s really quite simple: be clear about what was discussed with Coquitlam and clear about any and all decisions and understandings reached.
Cheap political stunts and negotiating via long distance through the press does nothing to help the process move forward and only adds to the public confusion.
Lastly, both the City and TransLink need to be open and forthcoming about what commitments were made when the application for federal funding was submitted. For instance, are there strings attached to the funding? What commitments were made to the railways, if any? What were the timelines?
We urge all those interested in this important issue to keep December 7th open and to participate in this important public session.