Jim Pattison's transit tax committee will provide yearly audit: Greg Moore

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore explains what role billionaire Jim Pattison will have in overseeing new revenue, should the tranist referendum succeed.

Greg Moore says role of committee will include yearly audit, designed to reassure public

Jim Pattison, shown in 2006, will head a oversight panel if Metro Vancouver's transit referendum passes. (CNN Matthews Photo)

If the transit plebiscite succeeds and creates a new 0.5 per cent sales tax to go towards transit improvements, billionaire businessman Jim Pattison will oversee a new committee to oversee all the money generated by that tax.

The committee was created by the Metro Vancouver Mayors' Council as an assurance to taxpayers the money will be properly spent.

Other than that, very little is known about the exact role of the committee — even to Pattison himself.

"I have no information about it, except that they asked me if I would help oversee the funds if the yes vote wins and I said I would be happy to do that," Pattison said.

The Early Edition spoke to chair of the Metro Vancouver Board of directors and Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore for more clarity on what the committee will actually do.

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1. A yearly audit

Moore said the question on the ballot will already include the promise of a yearly audit — done outside of TransLink.

"We really heard loud and clear that people wanted more assurance that this was going to occur," he said.

"We couldn't think of a better person to ask to come forward to oversee that to make sure that that money being collected is going to deliver the plan."

2. Mirror the success of other referendums

Moore said the idea of an advisory committee was borrowed from the aftermath of similar transit referendums to the south, including in Los Angeles.

"When we went and looked at referendums down in the states, one of the successful things they had was an oversight committee afterwards," he said.

3. Reassure the public that money is being properly spent

Moore didn't say whether the new committee would have any legislative or statutory authority, but said both the Mayors' Council and TransLink board will listen to the advice of the new committee.

"I think this just gives it that extra assurance that it's not government, it's not the TransLink board — it's someone that we've looked to before that will oversee that."

To hear the full interview with Greg Moore, click the audio labelled: Greg Moore on Jim Pattison's role.