Transportation Minister Todd Stone told a bus drivers union meeting in Vancouver on Tuesday morning he might consider holding the referendum on TransLink funding next year instead of this November.
According to Canadian Auto Workers Local 111 president Nathan Woods, Stone told the meeting he is considering stakeholders' concerns.
"They are not planning on taking the referendum off the table, but they are thinking of making it maybe next year instead of this year considering the delays and concerns of the stakeholders: the mayors, the student groups," said Woods.
The first indication, the B.C. government might be softening its stance came yesterday when B.C. Premier Christy Clark first hinted at a possible postponement.
Metro Vancouver mayors have criticized the plan to hold the vote during November's municipal elections because the question people will be asked to vote on has yet to be written and there's still no agreement on how it should be worded and what it should contain.
Clark and Stone both still say November is the best time for a vote. The premier said yesterday the municipal election is the right time to discuss how TransLink should be funded, but she she also agreed it's important the mayors lead the debate.
Mayors welcome consultation proposal
The chair of the TransLink Mayors Council, North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton, yesterday welcomed the apparent softening of the government's position. Walton says it's an important issue that will impact every single Lower Mainland resident and business for years to come, and needs proper discussion.
The provincial government took a much tougher stand just last week. Transportation Minister Todd Stone indicated the government would introduce legislation in the spring imposing the referendum, the day after the mayors met in New Westminster to announce their opposition to it.