Environmentalists who tried to stop the SkyTrain extension three years ago say a leaked consultant's report confirms that the B.C. government's arguments in favour of SkyTrain were untrue.
The report, which was leaked by the B.C. Liberals on Wednesday, says the government used contrived cost figures to conclude SkyTrain was better than light rail.
Deming Smith of the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation says the the only thing that surprises him is the fact it took so long to come out.
"This is precisely what a coalition of environmental groups was trying to appeal to the Auditor General two years ago to investigate," he says, "because we saw these skewed, bogus reports they were using."
In 1998, then premier Glen Clark announced he was pursuing a deal with Bombardier to build a new Skytrain line instead. Smith says it's obvious Clark's decision had nothing to do with the environment.
"It all has to do with a bunch of construction workers that can pour tons and tons of concrete and hopefully vote for Glen Clark and the NDP in the next election," he says.
Clark, of course, won't be running in that election, but his political legacy continues to provoke debate.
B.C. Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell says it's another fast ferry fiasco in the making. "There's no question this report shows once again, very clearly that the NDP has been dishonest," he says, "and deliberately misled the public."
The current minister responsible for SkyTrain, Mike Farnworth, insists there's nothing new in the report, saying the criticisms have been refuted a long time ago. Farnworth says SkyTrain is enormously successful; it's what the public wants; and it's being completed on budget.
He scoffs at the idea that light rail would have been superior. He says it would have caused more disruption and environmental damage, and would have been more expensive.