Important Consulation Meeting Tonight – Please Attend

Tonight TransLink is hosting a public consultation meeting on the long-planned, and for many, dreaded, United Boulevard Connector, or as it is now called the United Boulevard Extension (UBE).

According to TransLink:
“The North Fraser Perimeter Road has been a regional priority for many years and is designated as an important goods movement corridor.
Phase 1 improvements will connect Brunette Avenue with United Boulevard, relieve congestion at the single-lane bridge over the Brunette River and improve the Braid and Brunette at-grade rail crossing resulting in:
+ Rerouting of truck traffic out of New Westminster residential neighbourhoods and into industrial areas.
+ Improving the connectivity, efficiency, reliability and safety of the regional trucking, cycling and walking networks.
+ Improving connectivity between New Westminster and Coquitlam.

Those at the “stakeholders” meeting last week saw 4 options presented. The first, most closely resembling what had always been discussed with New Westminster over the years, was the most costly and the least disruptive to New Westminster. Options 2-4 all had huge impacts on property owners, on lost tax revenue and on neighbourhood livability.

Please attend the open house meeting tonight, November 18, 2010, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30p.m. at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, 715 McBride Boulevard.
Let TransLink know what this will mean to you.

It is interesting to see how this issue is being reported by media in Coquitlam.

Note: To view a copy of Mayor Wright’s letter to the Coquitlam NOW click here.

24 thoughts on “Important Consulation Meeting Tonight – Please Attend

  1. I saw Mayor Nosestretcher’s comments in the New West paper’s coverage. It doesn’t quite match what is in the Coquitlam paper. If an agreement in principle has been reached, what is the agreement? When will New Westminster resident’s see it?
    As usual in New Westminster, something is starting to smell.

  2. That meeting was a dog and pony show!! Why was there not a proper stake holder meeting with all stake holders invited. Why did the Coquilam Mayor say this is a done deal? Who is driving the train and where is it going

  3. I have just returned returned from the United Boulevard Extension Open House at the Justice Institute.
    It is difficult to understand how Translink could could have beeen so poorly prepared for this session.
    I am not one, generally to talk too negatively about process. I have seen too often where people who do not like the outcome of an issue, start complaining about the process.
    However, this information session was so lacking, in all aspects , that you have to wonder at what Translink was thinking when they planned for this event.
    The space chosen was inadequate, as were the information boards, the lack of written information, and the resource personnel from Translink on hand to provide information and explanations.
    All aspects of communication about this process have been completely inadequate, including notice of the Open House at the J.I.
    Some Sapperton residents were leafleting their neighborhoods a few nights prior to the meeting, to raise awareness in the area.
    I do understand that there are strings attached to the funding, and that a decision has to be made in Dec. of this year. Too bad. Let it slide.
    Make arrangements, if necessary to keep the money on the table.
    This current process needs to be abandoned,and if Translink would like to continue with this initiative, a new process must be started from step one. Information meetings need to be held, the community needs to hear what Translink’s goals are, and Translink needs to hear what the community’s values are. The community must be informed what the conditions are for the federal money to be available. What conditions have Translink, New Westminster and Coquitlam agreed to in the application for federal funding?
    The process then needs to build on that information with transparency and accountability.
    The process as it unfolded at the J.I. was a kick in the teeth to the Sapperton neighborhood specifically and to the city generally.
    The meeting was characterized by many very angry Sapperton neighborhood residents, who for the first time saw renderings of their neighborhood carved up by entrance and exit ramps. A general state of bewilderment was the reaction to the overall plan and the options provided.
    If this was 1965, I probably could understand the mindset leading to the overall plan and the options provided. Surely we have progressed from this threatening and divisive type of transportation planning.
    There are many, many valid questions. How much of this plan is driven by good local and regional transportation planning, and how much is driven by the railway companies wanting to get rid of the at grade traffic crossing at Braid St? Where is the traffic modeling that would provide details for each of the options? What is the City’s position on each of the options? Are there other options? What about status quo?
    Several City Councillors were on hand at the meeting, the city should call a halt to this process immediately. Stop the nonsense, where citizens have to rise up to defend their neighborhood.
    Also, the McBride Richmond Residents Association commence a neighborhood based process to give voice to those residents affected by this proposal, residents who are extremely frustrated and feel at a loss as how to respond to this poorly thought out Translink initiative.

  4. As an addendum to our post: The Express has obtained a copy of a letter sent by Mayor Wayne Wright to the Coquitlam NOW newspaper. A story in Wednesday’s NOW indicated that the City of New Westminster has “signed off” on the United Boulevard extension into New Westminster.

    The article in the NOW states: “One of my commitments was to sit down with New Westminster, find out what the issue was and work through it — and we’ve done that,” Mayor Richard Stewart said in an interview Tuesday. “We now have commitments from New Westminster that the project ought to go ahead. We’ve got them to sign off, we’ve got [the City of Coquitlam to sign off].”

    The Now article also states: “Between the two [planning departments], I think they’ve done a superb job. It’s just been a long time coming,” added Coun. Mae Reid, chair of the city’s land use committee. “It’s certainly going to open up our area down on United Boulevard.”

    However, Mayor Wright’s letter to the Coquitlam NOW states: “The title of your story on the current status of TransLink’s proposals for a United Boulevard Extension project leaves the impression that the City of New Westminster has given approval for specific plans to proceed. This is not the case.”

    These are two very different versions of the same story, so we’re left wondering which version is the correct one.

    We therefore urge TransLink, the City of Coquitlam, and the City of New Westminster to make public all documents, agreements and commitments that have been entered into by these parties in relation to the United Boulevard extension to clear up the confusion and to then rededicate themselves to a fresh process based on transparency, accountability, and value for money.

  5. Casey, First off, you are right on the money. This process (and I would argue, this project in general) is not acceptable to the people of New Westminster. We cannot commit to this project in the short timeframe provided, and still be said to have had meaningful community consultation.

    Second: I subscribe to Hanlon’s Razor: never presume malice when incompetence will suffice. That this meeting was poorly planned I will agree, but I don’t think it was intentional slight to Sapperton, I think it was a mis-understanding of how bigan issue this is to New Westminster residents. If you talk to the Translink folks, they have gone to many public consultations over projects of similar scope, and spent the evening talking to each other as only a dozen people show up.

    At the end of the evening, Ken Hardie of Translink so much as admitted they were overwhelmed, and promised another, more suitable meeting in New Westminster. I get the feeling our council will kill this plan before it comes to that.

  6. Would the city of New Westminster kindly answer this question: Why is Mayor Wayne Wright sending a letter to the editor of the Now, when it should be sent to Mayor Steward and Councilor Reid of Coquitlam who are quoted in the paper? If clarification is required it should come from the source not the paper. Again the communication from New Westminster leaves much to be desired.

  7. These question should be directed to so called communication expert Blair Fryer who handles all communication issues for the city – including press releases and generating stake holder lists for Translink.

  8. Hello Chris (P@J),
    A couple of points to be made on your last comment.
    First, Hanlon’s Razor. I agree, I do not think that Translink set out to antagonize Sapperton and New Westminster residents and taxpayers regarding this issue. As I said earlier, proper preparation for a respectful process was sorely lacking on the part of Translink. New Westminster, as a member of Translink, played a part in this.
    What the result was, was considered by many participants to be a kick in the teeth.
    People having to leaflet their areas as a result of poor notice and overall communication. Then, when people arrive at the Open House, they see their area carved up in some of the options presented.
    Communication, consultation, preparation, presentation, all lacking in this initiative.
    An open house, with presentation of options, should come after a sufficient period of consultation and two way dialogue. The options should be an outcome of previous consultation. Options should not be the opening salvo in a 1960’s style of transportation planning.

    One other comment Chris, and I know your group, who’s work I respect, would be interested in this.
    How much of the UBE process is driven or impacted by the city’s desire to have a Waste to Energy site located in Braid Industrial lands?
    The city needs to come clean on what it’s position is on solid waste management in Metro and New Westminster’s role in it..
    We do not want a repeat of 2007-08
    where the Mayor was not forthcoming in what was happening regarding it’s attempt to have a WTE site in the Braid Industrial Lands.
    We know in 2007 there were discussions at the GVRD (Metro) which led to an offer being made to purchase property in the Braid Industrial Lands. We also know that there were discussion regarding the issue at the New Westminster Electrical Utility Commission at their In Camera meetings of Dec. 18, 2007 and Jan 22, 2008.
    Yet, later, when asked about the issue, the Mayor stated that he had no idea what the GVRD’s plans were.
    I realize that the Provincial Gov’t has not given approval for a waste management plan for Metro, but that doesn’t mean there are no plans afoot. In fact, I would bet quite the opposite. The tipping fees for garbage, and a source of energy for the Electrical Utility are too lucrative for a severely cash starved city to ignore.

  9. Uh, Not sure who “Chris” is.

    the “P@J” handle refers to my name: Pat Johnstone. Sound it out.
    P@J is my “google name”, which can be confirmed by looking at my profile at:
    greennewwest.blogspot.com

    I am not sure how to tied this issue is to the potential WTE facility. I hope the Mayor isn’t making deals right now on that, as there will be some significant push-back. That said, I don’t thinkg the Provicial Government is going to move to fast on the ISWRMP, I’m not sure they even know who can sign cheques right now in Victoria…

  10. Sorry Patrick, my mistake, I don’t know how the name Chris got in there.
    My error.
    I don’t know if there is any deal making, but it sure would be helpful to be well positioned to have the infrastructure in place if that is the direction you wanted to go.
    The noise that I keep hearing from 511 Royal Ave indicates that there is support for WTE in N.W.
    However, that is an issue that should be open to full and frank discussion. That will not happen until the Provincial Gov’t plays it’s hand.
    However, whatever conclusion one comes to on that issue, it should not get in the way of good 21st century transportation planning for the region, and by extension, for New Westminster and Coquitlam.

  11. I wonder when we will find out if the Mayor made a back room deal with UBE for WTE. It is going to be very hard for him to turn down this cash cow. Me thinks the hospital will want the cheaper power!

  12. Hold on a sec, are we saying that the WTE plant is no good ? I remember reading the mayor saying the new designs are so efficient that the air coming out is cleaner then the air going in. I also thought the waste was going to be loaded to the facility by barges.
    I wouldn’t mind a money maker then all these dieing old horses. And one things for sure, garbage is a booming industry.

  13. I’m all for setting up a District Energy Utility to provide cheap, sustainable energy to the Hospital and the Brewery District Development: it is already being done in Vancouver, Victoria, and (soon) Richmond. But we don’t need to burn garbage to do it. There is already a significant heat source right there: the huge MetroVan sewer force main that runs between the Brunette Highway and the Brunette River. Combined with the waste sewage heat from the Hospital and the new neighbourhood, there is more than enough “waste heat” to keep the hospital in warm water for perpetuity. Burning trash is not sustainable.

  14. I think that if you check my previous comments, you will see that I wrote about having full and frank discussion regarding a solid waste strategy. That means that we have public discussion about the benefits and drawbacks. It doesn’t mean that we have elected officials saying they have no idea what Metro’s position is, and then the public finding out a week later that Metro has put in an offer for the Canfor lands so that a WTE site possibly can be located there.
    We should formulate public policy by having full and open process,
    not by stealth.

  15. To anonymous:
    Please, Please, it;s valid to recognize the Mayor as a good promoter, mostly of himself, but please do not try to sell us that he is any kind of a thinker.
    Complexity of any kind baffles him.
    He talks like he gets his ideas from license plates and T-shirts, sort of like Forrest Gump.

  16. YES ! Burning garbage is no good !
    We’ll need more trucks burning fossil fuels to move our garbage farther afield to dump it and then leave it to compost in great big piles so it can release methane and co2 to the atmosphere.

    That way TRANSPORTATION of our garbage makes as much pollution as the garbage itself !

    Good thinking P@J !

    I invest in commodities, and your environmental thinking is going to make me a wealthy man !

  17. The McBride-Sapperton Residents’ Association (MSRA) has booked the Sapperton Pensioner’s Hall for December 1st at 7:00 p.m. to aid in the community’s discussion regarding the United Boulevard Extension proposal. This is with the hope that we can come to some kind of consensus as a community as to what is best for us and what we can and cannot support. This will be an opportunity for people to come together as a community, share frustrations and get organized. The mayor and city councilors have been invited to attend.

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