Metro, Coquitlam joust over RGS (Tri-City News, 24-May-2011)

(By Janis Warren, The Tri-City News) Excerpt: The CEO of Metro Vancouver says the regional government and the city of Coquitlam are close to starting negotiations on the regional growth strategy (RGS). But Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said the two government bodies are as far apart as ever and he doesn’t know when the first meeting will be. Full article online here.
Highlights of article:
  • The 60-day non-binding process was supposed to have started last Monday, and Mr. Carline said that the two sides have until June 30 to wrap up their work.
  • Other municipal officials will be invited to participate in the mediation but the public won’t. “We’ve already had a public hearing,” Carline said.
    [MetroVanWatch comment: The public never really had a fair chance to be involved and should have that chance now. Statements like these will further erode the public’s trust in and respect for Metro Vancouver. As described elsewhere on our site, (1) the public hearing process was barely advertised and barely attended, and then (2) used as an excuse to prevent the public from accessing the Metro Vancouver board and even elected officials in each municipality. (3) Input and concerns expressed during the public hearing process were largely ignored, and  (4) whatever public consultations were really done, occurred very early in the process, long before the details of the RGS were negotiated, essentially behind closed doors, in the final months before December 2010.]
  • Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart says Metro Vancouver is dragging its feet now, and that Metro Vancouver “has disagreed with much of the legislative requirements and many of the suggestions from the minister and her staff…”
  •  Coquitlam’s  objections are backed by a coalition of business groups, but Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, chair of Metro Vancouver’s regional planning committee, counters that the business groups had years and multiple rounds of public consultations to table their concerns.
    [MetroVanWatch comment: Mayor Corrigan as committee chair also played a major role in blocking public involvement in the process of formulating the RGS. His comment that there were multiple rounds of public consultations is a typical response from Metro Vancouver on the RGS, but the fact that so many problems have arisen now is a reflection of a flawed consultation process.  The media coverage and public debate that really began in April 2011 is very worthwhile, and is at last raising issues that should have been dealt with in good faith and openly long before the final text of the RGS was revealed by those who negotiated it. Metro Vancouver’s forceful approach is not the right way to adopt a 30-year strategy for our population of over 2 million people.]

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