B.C. Premier Christy Clark appears to be softening her stance on the TransLink referendum scheduled for November's municipal elections, hinting it may be postponed.
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 over how it should be worded and what it should contain.
'Ultimately the mayors are going to have to lead it.' - Premier Christy Clark
Clark says November is still the best time for a vote.
"They should be talking about it in the municipal election. So it’s certainly my hope we can do it in November, but I do know the mayors have been saying they need more time if they want to be leaders on this, and they need to be leaders on this if the referendum is going to succeed."
While Clark says it's important for people to be talking about TransLink funding during the municipal election, she also says it's important the mayors lead the debate.
"We are enablers on this. We are enabling the people of the province on this, but it’s ultimately the mayors that are going to have to lead it. They are saying they need more time to lead it so we’re talking to them about that."
Mayors welcome consultation proposal
The chair of the TransLink Mayors Council, North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton, says he's looking forward to sitting down with all sides to figure out how to move forward.
"You know I think we've made our points quite clear that our view is that a referendum is a useful tool, if it's in the right context and in order for it to be in the right context, there usually needs to be a significant policy shift and you need to have both or all levels of government working closely together."
Walton says it's an important issue that will impact every single Lower Mainland resident and business for years to come, so it 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.
The mayors say they have not been given the time or resources to develop the the type of long-term plan that is needed for this kind of a question.