Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Translink Development, Ltd.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Translink has lunched a new real estate division. The division’s goal will be to flip property for Translink. It’s a great idea. If done properly (assuming property values won’t go down), it would allow Translink to generate revenue in a way that could be good for the communities where future rapid transit goes through while being easier on taxpayer's wallets (read: TOD’s and less reliance on property tax.)

I was reading the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act and it appears that Translink can purchase land anywhere as long as it can “facilitate the development, construction or operation of the regional transportation system.” The act also grants them the ability to “do anything with the land that a person of full capacity could lawfully do with the land.”

So that begs the questions: Would Translink be able to buy and develop a business park in say, South Surrey, to fund a transit line in Vancouver? Also, it brings to light the real motive for studying the south alignment of the Evergreen line again. Is the province going to sell land at the Riverview Hospital site to Translink for cheap, then have Translink sell it once the Evergreen line is complete? It would be great for Translink, but I’m not sure it would be good for the community as a whole. It would leave out Port Moody, who built for transit because they were promised rapid transit.

As I said, it's great that the government has given Translink the ability to develop property. Let’s hope they do what’s best for existing community, and the region as a whole.

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