Metro, Coquitlam optimistic of deal on growth plan dispute

Province told two sides prepared to continue negotiations

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie represents Metro Vancouver in the dispute resolution process with Coquitlam over Metro's proposed regional growth strategy.

Metro Vancouver and Coquitlam council members are hopeful they can iron out differences over the proposed regional growth strategy.

The two sides agreed June 29 to notify the province they will continue discussions on July 5.

Coquitlam refused to sign the new growth plan, leading the province to order a non-binding dispute process be followed ahead of potential arbitration.

The third day of discussions was productive, according to Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who represents Metro at the talks.

“I believe there was a better level of discussion,” he said. “There’s cautious optimism on both sides that we can come to some agreement that will satisfy the concerns of Coquitlam.”

Metro has rejected Coquitlam’s demand for a review of the growth strategy every five years on a one-third vote of the regional board, as well as a request that cities be allowed to make some land-use changes on as little as a one-third board vote.

But Metro has promised at least a workshop for civic reps every five years to air growth plan concerns and bolstered benchmarking measures that would be conducted on an annual basis.

Under Metro’s proposal, Coquitlam’s concerns that the growth plan is too inconsistent, providing too many exemptions for each city, would be referred back to a technical group of planners from around the region for longer term consideration.

A TransLink representative said a review of the growth strategy every five years might hinder transit planning because it would leave TransLink planners less certain of land uses over the long term.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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