Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mayor's stance out of touch

Get Moving BC Advisory Board member, Mike McBratney, had a great letter published in Wednesday's Burnaby Now debunking the claim that 87% of Burnaby's residents oppose the Gateway project. As a professional poll conducted for Get Moving BC by NRG Research demonstrated last fall, 72 per cent of the people in Burnaby support the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and the widening of Highway 1, with only 21 per cent opposed and eight per cent who did not have an opinion. Nice work, Mike!


Mayor's stance out of touch

Burnaby Now (Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2008)

Dear Editor:

How does the mayor's antagonistic stance on a new $14-billion transit plan serve the people of Burnaby? The majority of Burnaby residents are actually in favour of twinning the Port Mann Bridge and widening Highway 1, and I suspect they also support the new transit plan.

In attempting to justify his stance against the Gateway project, Mayor Derek Corrigan has gone to some fairly extreme lengths, including having city staff draft a report - using very questionable methodology - that states that 87 per cent of Burnaby's citizens are opposed to the Gateway project. Last September, we at Get Moving B.C. decided to challenge that claim.

We commissioned NRG Research Group - a leading North American public opinion and market research company - to scientifically gauge the level of support among Burnaby residents for twinning the Port Mann Bridge and widening Highway 1. NRG Research interviewed 300 randomly selected Burnaby residents and discovered that 72 per cent of the people in Burnaby support the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and the widening of Highway 1, with only 21 per cent opposed and eight per cent who did not have an opinion. The full report is at http://www.getmovingbc.com/.

How can the City of Burnaby and the mayor claim there is strong opposition to the Port Mann/Highway 1 project in Burnaby? As it turns out, the city's claim is based on an unscientific, non-random, online questionnaire posted on the city's website and circulated at a shopping mall and a Burnaby library.

The city's questionnaire consisted of 11 'statements' about the Gateway project, worded in such a way that it would be nearly impossible to disagree.

In total, the City of Burnaby received 154 responses to their questionnaire, with only 65 of these responses actually coming from residents of Burnaby. Sixty-three responses came from Vancouver residents, with others coming from Surrey, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Moody and seven other municipalities.

Burnaby staff then assigned a 'score' to each questionnaire, based upon a cumulative response to the 11 'survey' questions. Based upon this questionable measure, they decided that 87 per cent of Burnaby's residents were opposed to the Gateway project and were therefore supportive of the anti-Gateway position taken by Corrigan and his majority on city council.

The city's questionnaire never even asked whether the respondents supported or opposed the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and the widening of Highway 1.

When it comes to speaking out against the project, Corrigan clearly does not speak for the people of Burnaby. The evidence does not support the stance he has taken. And considering the positive reception the public and the media have given to the new transit plan, the same can very likely be said for the mayor's negative assessment of the $14-billion transit plan.

Get Moving B.C. supports a balanced transportation system for the Lower Mainland, one that maintains the prosperity of our region and its livability. We believe the majority of Burnaby's citizens also support a balanced transportation system and, in our opinion, Corrigan is clearly way out of sync with the people of Burnaby on this issue.

Michael McBratney, Burnaby, Get Moving B.C.

© Burnaby Now 2008

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