VICTORIA— The B.C. Liberals may have recently appointed Hon. Peter Fassbender to take on Translink but his recent board appointments do nothing to address the accountability gap or the frustrations of the region’s elected officials.
“After dragging their feet with Translink, the B.C. Liberals finally filled two positions on Translink’s board, yet these appointments do not increase elected representation from the region,” said New Democrat spokesperson for Translink George Heyman.“The region’s mayors are increasingly frustrated. They have said that if they are not given more direct control over Translink decision-making and budgets that affect Metro Vancouver transportation planning they could just walk away at the end of the year and leave the B.C. Liberals to clean up the mess they themselves created.”
Heyman worries that Fassbender didn’t consider the potential conflict of interest that could occur with one of the new board members, Jim Chu, the vice-president of special projects and partnerships with the Aquilini Investment Group.
“While Jim Chu is well-respected among lower mainland residents, due to his employment with Aquilini Investment Group, he could find himself in a conflict of interest when involved with transportation planning and development discussions that take place at the TransLink board level. Land values and development opportunities tend to be sensitive to transit planning,” said Heyman. “Minister Fassbender needs to explain what thought was put into this potential conflict and what processes will be in place to ensure that any conflicts are avoided and disclosed in a transparent manner.”
With Translink’s chairperson announcing that there is a pause in the search for a new chief executive officer, Heyman feels that the board desperately needs to be strengthened in order to get Translink running transparently and efficiently.
“The new board appointments don’t address the issue of accountability in TransLink,” said Heyman. “More elected officials would make for a much stronger board. At a time when Translink has been struggling just to maintain current service levels, the board needs stronger direct links to local elected officials so they can improve their operations and regain trust and confidence.”