SkyTrain extension, policing review on PoCo's horizon

Studies planned re. RCMP & potential SkyTrain extension

Neighbourhood infrastructure, policing and transportation — including a push for a SkyTrain extension — are on Port Coquitlam council’s list of priorities for the next three years.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Brad West laid out those priorities, a checklist against which he said voters can hold council accountable in the 2022 civic election.

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“We’re showing what’s achievable and practical and what makes sense to people,” West told The Tri-City News Monday. “This is tangible. It’s a road map of projects and programs — not an alphabet soup of buzzwords that don’t mean anything at the end of the day.”

The emphasis will be on core city services such as neighbourhood infrastructure, he said, but council has also earmarked $75,000 in next year’s capital plan to study how PoCo can get at least one SkyTrain station in future years. (City managers will make an application to the provincial government to match the $75,000 consulting cost.)

The city is expected to hire a consultant in the new year to look at the options, which West will then advocate before the TransLink mayors’ council.

PoCo is under-served by public transit, West said, which makes it difficult for the city’s growing population to commute in any other way than a personal vehicle.

TransLink already has a number of big regional projects on the books, including an extension of SkyTrain to UBC and a proposed gondola up Burnaby Mountain to SFU; the north shore municipalities are also undertaking a feasibility study to get SkyTrain there.

But PoCo could have an edge if it has its full plans laid out before regional decision-makers, West said.

As for the policing review, PoCo council has set aside $100,000 to hire a consultant in the new year to look at its options.

The report will outline the pros and cons of sticking with the Coquitlam RCMP detachment PoCo shares; having a separate RCMP detachment for PoCo exclusively; or starting a municipal police force, much like Surrey is doing.

“The whole purpose is to improve community safety,” West said. “This isn’t about unhappiness [with the RCMP]. We’ve experienced significant growth in the last decade and we want to know if the RCMP are meeting our needs and priorities. We believe it’s timely.”

PoCo’s consultant report is due before council in fall 2020.

••••••

Ten highlights of PoCo council’s 2020-’22 priorities: 

• completing the Port Coquitlam community centre;

• looking at higher-density development near transit hubs;

• improving turnaround times for development applications;

• building infrastructure to support downtown revitalization;

• addressing speeding and school zone safety;

• reviewing options for delivery of police services;

• investing in neighbourhood road and utility rehabilitation;

• planning and advocating for SkyTrain to Port Coquitlam;

• creating a plan to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change on city services and the community;

• and developing a forest management plan along with a tree canopy target and strategy. 

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