Friday, November 30, 2007

The new TransLink

Yesterday, the TransLink reorganization was passed in the Legislature. Today, the council of mayors will meet with Mike Harcourt and his committee to vette their list of Board nominees.

During debate in the Leg, Mary Polak summed up what most Langley residents have been feeling for years:
In the time that I've spent in municipal politics in Surrey and as an MLA in Langley, I can think of a lot of things that people have said to me about TransLink. They've said things like: "What a mess," and "Oh, please blow it up."

They've said all manner of complaints and concerns and outright frustration, but the one thing I don't think I ever heard anyone say about TransLink was that they were accountable. To speak now about this new governance model and address it as being somehow less accountable than the TransLink that currently exists is absolutely laughable for anyone who lives in the lower mainland.

Let's talk a little bit about what people said, or have said in the past, about the existing TransLink model. We have the mayor of Surrey, currently, Dianne Watts who says: "There needs to be one plan that everybody is working together on. There's no point in having different levels of government having different plans." Former mayor of Surrey Doug McCallum talking about TransLink said: "We have serious structural problems in governance." Larry Campbell was quoted as saying: "Quite frankly, I don't see it working" — meaning TransLink. "We have got to get rid of the parochialism." Not my words; Larry Campbell's words.

Editorials in The Vancouver Sun going back to 2004: "TransLink has come to represent political gridlock in the lower mainland rather than a transit system that moves fluidly." Or again: "Instead of blindly heading down this road, it's time to admit that TransLink itself is broken, that it is incapable of doing the job it was created to do."

So no question that there are problems that exist in the current structure of TransLink, problems that won't get us to the kind of transportation solutions we need so desperately on the lower mainland.


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