TransLink’s United Boulevard Extension plans are a hot topic in New West. The article we ran earlier calling for citizens to come out to the upcoming public consultation meetings and speak out against the plans has become the most-commented post in our blog’s history.
A number of comments in that post referenced an article written in the Coquitlam Now about the project that led some people to believe New West had already given approval to proceed, which the City says is not the case. The City of New Westminster forwarded me the following letter to the editor from Mayor Wayne Wright in response to the Now article. Given the interest in this topic, I asked for permission to repost the letter here on Tenth to the Fraser. Read it, and make up your own mind.
I’d like to encourage anyone who feels strongly about the UBE project (on either side) to come out to the two public open houses tonight (Nov. 18), 5:30-8pm at the Justice Institute and Nov. 25, 5:30-8:30 at Place Des Arts in Coquitlam.
Here’s the letter our mayor sent to the Coquitlam Now on behalf of Council:
The following is the text of a letter to the editor sent by Mayor Wayne Wright to the Coquitlam Now earlier today:
November 18, 2010
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.
In 2007, New Westminster city council provided conditional support to TransLink’s funding application to Transport Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway Program for the United Boulevard Extension component of the North Fraser Perimeter Road (NFPR.) Attached to that conditional support were a series of requirements that New Westminster council must see fulfilled should a United Boulevard Extension project move ahead.
Fast forward to July 2010 when City of New Westminster and Coquitlam councils met to discuss mutual concerns and priorities regarding TransLink’s proposed NFPR plans as well as Province of BC plans for the Highway 1/Port Mann Project in the area of the Brunette Interchange. At our meeting we passed the following resolution:
THAT…both municipalities share a common voice in recommending that TransLink seek funding to match the federal grant contribution of $65 million for the United Boulevard Project as well as to continue working with senior levels of government, and other affected stakeholders, in regards to collectively resolving transportation network requirements and connections in proximity of Highway 1 and the Brunette Interchange.
In the first case, the intent was to ensure that the interests of New Westminster residents were protected and, in both, that funding is available if and when sign-off is achieved for a United Boulevard Extension.
TransLink is currently holding public consultation meetings in New Westminster and Coquitlam to gather feedback from citizens in both communities on several United Boulevard Extension options. The City of New Westminster has encouraged residents and stakeholders to attend these open houses to express their views on TransLink plans. Once that consultation is complete, New Westminster council will review the results carefully before making a decision to support or reject TransLink’s proposal on a United Boulevard Extension.
While Coquitlam certainly deals with its fair share of traffic, by virtue of our location at the centre of Metro Vancouver, New Westminster is forced to bear an undue burden with literally hundreds of thousands of regional commuter vehicles passing through on our streets each and every day. In light of this reality, New Westminster city council will examine any transportation project proposed within our boundaries very carefully, taking into account the views of our residents as well as the impact on the quality of life we work so hard to maintain for our citizens.
Mayor Wayne Wright