The province has appointed a former Surrey city manager and an ex-Vancouver Police chief to the TransLink Board.
On Thursday, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender announced Murray Dinwoodie and Jim Chu had been appointed to the TransLink board.
Local officials have long complained that two seats on TransLink have rarely been filled by members of the provincial government.
The two new appointees, Fassbender said, will be provincial representatives.
“Both Jim Chu and Murray Dinwoodie have extensive experience, not just in the civic level but at the regional, provincial and national levels,” Fassbender said in a conference call. “I’m positive that their contributions will be invaluable.”
He described the pair as pragmatic and passionate about transportation.
Fassbender was asked what kind of provincial representation the two bring when their professional careers were at the civic level.
“I have sat at tables with both those individuals in their previous roles, they bring a very strong regional lens to the table,” Fassbender said. “I felt it was important that the individuals that were put there were seen to be pragmatic, objective and working in the best interest of the region, while understanding the provincial priorities, which both of them do.”
He said that the naming of Chu shouldn’t be read as a sign of a shake-up in transit policing.
“It is not intended to send any signals other than Mr. Chu has had a tremendous career in the region and as I said, he brings expertise that will be very beneficial,” Fassbender said.
That said, the TransLink board will be looking at all issues, including policing.
“I know Mr. Chu will have a perspective and that will be a healthy thing as well,” Fassbender said.
The naming of two provincial members was promised by Transportation Minister Todd Stone prior to a failed plebiscite to raise sales tax by 0.5 per cent for transportation.
Some Metro mayors doubted the province would follow through on a pledge to appoint its own representatives to join the two mayors on the board – mayors’ council chair Gregor Robertson of Vancouver and vice-chair Linda Hepner of Surrey.
History has shown they had good reason for doubt.
TransLink was formed with three designated seats for the province that first the governing NDP and later the BC Liberals never filled
It buffered the province from any backlash should things have gone wrong on TransLink.
A later reform made additional appointees possible and it was hoped mayors and government representatives sitting together at the same table, along with seven professional appointees, could find more common ground.
Provincial directors had been expected on the board by early 2015. Those appointments met several delays, the last of which was waiting for the decision of the plebiscite.
Fassbender said the two new directors won’t have any powers beyond a regular director, but will represent the province.
The TransLink board is expected to meet Aug. 27 – the first meeting for Chu and Dinwoodie.
~with files from Jeff Nagel