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BURNABY Business and the provincial Liberals are orchestrating a campaign to force the RAV project back to life again, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and the union challenges them to stop threatening and start finding sensible rapid transit solutions.

I challenge the Translink board and the business community to look at affordable alternatives to the RAV, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill said. Lower mainland residents want transit solutions. They want to see an end to the constant battling.

A coalition of 34 businesses and other interests is pushing the provincial government and Translink directors to resuscitate the controversial mega-project by any means despite it having been turned down twice.

They began their campaign to undo Translinks democratic process last week with the release of a poll claiming wide public support for the $1.7 billion RAV rapid transit line.

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon followed front-page coverage of the poll with criticisms of the Translink board for voting down a government offer to take over the project. Then there were the demands to restructure Translink so government and business could have their way.

They are behaving like schoolyard bullies, ONeill said. If they dont get their way, they will take their ball and bat and go home. The problem is its the taxpayers ball and bat.

Both Translink chair Doug McCallum and Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell told the Vancouver Sun that the collapse of RAV shows Translink is not working properly and should be replaced with something that does. Later, Vancouver city councillor Raymond Louie told CKNW that he wanted the restructuring as well. And the campaign rages on.

What we are seeing here this week is a government puppet on a big business string, ONeill said. When business doesnt get its way, it simply calls for the restructuring of the democratic institution that is stopping it.

CUPE is waiting for the government either to intervene or force one of the Translink directors to change their vote.


Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President, 604-916-8444
Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications, 604-828-7668.