Skip to content

PM ponders what to do about RGS

Port Moody city council has called an emergency meeting for 7 p.m. next Tuesday to try to navigate the political minefield of the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy (RGS).

Port Moody city council has called an emergency meeting for 7 p.m. next Tuesday to try to navigate the political minefield of the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy (RGS).

City council already roundly rejected the 30-year growth plan, which pairs population density targets with infrastructure rewards for all Metro municipalities, on the grounds that the major transportation incentives for Moody - the Evergreen Line and the Murray-Clarke Connector - are still nowhere to be found in the plan despite the city having met its previous population and density goals.

The dropping of the Murray-Clarke from the TransLink budget and the delay of construction of the Evergreen Line have caused Port Moody to adopt a "no-growth" policy, rejecting all new residential development in the city until construction on either project begins.

Adding to city council's frustrations with the RGS, Metro Vancouver's chief administrative officer, Johnny Carline, told council Tuesday that its rejection of the RGS on principle, rather than on the basis of any specific clause, is viewed by the Metro board as "deemed acceptance" of the plan.

It's an apparent Catch-22, however, because if city council is able to specify that it will not accept the strategy without TransLink funding for the Murray-Clarke being reinstated, then its recommendation would go to a roundtable mediation in which it would need to be approved by every party involved in the issue, including TransLink.

The transit authority has staunchly opposed funding the Murray-Clarke in the foreseeable future and would most likely veto any option that included it now.

Carline was conciliatory on this point and realized the impasse it caused, saying, "Metro Vancouver staff totally understand your position, totally understand your position."

He added that the only Plan B remaining for Port Moody would be to accept the RGS and then alter it once it had been ratified - something he said Richmond and West Vancouver already plan to do and is allowable within the RGS as long as the changes made only apply to individual municipalities.

Carline also offered a promise to Port Moody: Accept the RGS and I will vote in favour of your changes once the RGS is in place.

It was a gamble on one man's word that Mayor Joe Trasolini and all six councillors were reluctant to take.

"What assurance do we have if we go along with this?" Coun. Bob Elliott asked.

"There's no assurances of anything," Trasolini answered, adding that council's problem with the RGS is no longer just about Murray-Clarke, although that failed project is a key example of the city's distrust with the Metro Van partnership.

"There's no direct link between the [Metro Vancouver] planning and the transportation decisions and that responsibility for that mistake rests squarely with the provincial government," the mayor said. "But at the same time, we have the only opportunity now to make a statement [by rejecting the RGS]."

That statement, Trasolini said, was directed not only at the province but at Coquitlam and communities to the east of Port Moody that continue to encourage rapid population growth without what he deemed an adequate transportation plan.

Fifteen Metro Vancouver municipalities have already accepted the RGS with two - Richmond and West Vancouver - requesting amendments following their acceptance. Port Moody is the only municipality to have so far rejected the plan.

Council will meet with staff before the March 15, 7 p.m. rush meeting to "draft suitable language, verify compliance with legislation and bring forward a new resolution" on how to proceed with or without the RGS.

[email protected]