Chris Rarinca and Marita Wallace from the Citizens Opposed to the Gondola (COG) presented to Burnaby City Council last night (August 29) voicing their opposition to the SFU gondola project and asking Burnaby not to grant TransLink permits in case the project is approved.
COG described some examples of TransLink’s biased public consultation techniques, debunked project claims, and argued the case for working on regional transportation projects instead of what they called a “pet project”. COG referred to Burnaby’s own Social Sustainability Strategy and pointed out that the SFU gondola project would damage a community that has been green and sustainable for 35 years in favour of UniverCity, a new community that now claims the green and sustainable label.
Mayor Corrigan stated that the Council felt they could not withhold permits if the project is approved but sympathized with the delegation, eloquently expressing his frustration with TransLink, an organization that is not elected and therefore not accountable to the public. Additionally, Mayor Corrigan also emphasized that TransLink has made decisions with which he and other mayors in this region have disagreed. Other Burnaby councilors spoke in response to the COG presentation, notably Councilors Dhaliwal, Jordan, and McDonell.
The consensus is that COG has done their research and expressed themselves well but will have to make their opposition heard at the provincial level, since TransLink answers only to the Minister of Transportation, Blair Lekstrom. COG representative Marita Wallace indicated that they will be going to the provincial government next.