Many Translink directors battle tough opponents

Eight of the 12 TransLink board members, including chairman Doug McCallum, could be defeated in the November 19 municipal elections. Surrey Mayor McCallum faces his former Surrey Electors Team colleague Coun. Dianne Watts, who split over his alleged bullying.

Watts usually voted with McCallum at the GVRD board. If she joins the TransLink board, Watts might not reverse McCallum’s decision to increase the bus fleet far more slowly than would have occurred under the former chair, George Puil. In 2004, Watts voted in favour of amending TransLink’s strategic transportation plan to permit construction of the $2-billion Richmond/Airport/Vancouver Rapid Transit line.

Another member of the Surrey Electors Team, Coun. Marvin Hunt, has been on the TransLink board since the late 1990s. A new centre-left political party, the Surrey Civic Coalition, is trying to throw Hunt, the GVRD chairman, and the rest of his SET colleagues out of office.

Two other TransLink directors, Coquitlam Mayor Jon Kingsbury and North Vancouver City Mayor Barbara Sharp, originally voted against the RAV project but later supported it after being lobbied by the business community. Now they face stiff challenges from veteran councillors who oppose the RAV line. In Coquitlam, Coun. Maxine Wilson is Kingsbury’s chief opponent. Sharp, a two-term mayor, faces a two-pronged attack from Rod Clark, a right-winger, and Darrell Mussatto, who criticizes her from the left and who has frequently voted against endorsing the RAV line.

Meanwhile, Vancouver councillors David Cadman and Raymond Louie, both members of the TransLink board, may not survive if voters throw out most of the incumbents and return the NPA to power. Louie voted along with Sharp to put the RAV project back on life support in the summer of 2004. Cadman voted against the majority.

Two other TransLink directors, New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright and Maple Ridge Mayor Kathy Morse, can’t be complacent either. Wright may be in trouble against his only challenger, four-term Coun. Casey Cook; Morse faces a serious fight against Gordon Robson, who has galvanized members of the community against crystal meth, and former NDP MLA Bill Hartley.

The remaining four directors can relax on Saturday night. Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell and Langley City Mayor Marlene Grinnell are not seeking reelection. Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini will be acclaimed, and Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie should have an easy ride against Michael Wolfe.

TransLink has made some huge capital-spending decisions over the past three years, including allocating $370 million for the RAV project; proceeding with the $600-million Golden Ears Bridge linking Langley and Pitt Meadows; setting aside $350 million for 228 new trolley buses and a new Vancouver transit centre; and guaranteeing $400 million for light rail to Coquitlam, which is expected to be ready by the 2010 Winter Games.

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