Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley got 40 minutes in person with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today (Saturday) to plead the city’s case on a few issues.
Three items were brought up - Hurley told the NOW in an interview - during a meeting that appears to have been brokered by Burnaby North-Seymour MP Terry Beech.
The City of Burnaby owes the federal government an estimated $1.8 million in policing costs related to protests in the city against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, Hurley said.
Ex-Mayor Derek Corrigan said publicly that the city would not pay these policing costs.
Hurley doesn’t think Burnaby should pay these costs either, especially because Trudeau has repeatedly said the project is in the “national interest” and that the federal government bought the project.
Hurley said it’s unfair for a city to be burdened with such a huge police tab.
So Hurley made the city’s case about working out some sort of deal to cover some or all of the costs.
“It’s an issue that’s hanging out there,” Hurley said. “But it’s a bill that has to be paid (by someone).”
This wasn’t the first time Hurley has met Trudeau, as the mayor had a previous face-to-face meeting while working with a firefighters’ union.
The second issue broached by Hurley was housing. He said the city has been frustrated in dealings with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to get projects off the ground.
CMHC has “difficult” processes to wade through and a lot of “red tape” that Hurley says doesn’t feel appropriate in regards to projects spearheaded by a city the size of Burnaby.
“Sometimes their regulations seem a bit ridiculous,” Hurley said.
Hurley says cities – compared with small groups – should be recognized for having skilled staff, meaning there should be a more streamlined process when a city, a province and the feds develop a project together.
Hurley just wants to deliver projects “quicker” during the housing crisis.
A third issue Hurley discussed with Trudeau was about tank farm safety.
Hurley said the city doesn’t want the Trans Mountain pipeline, but if it eventually goes ahead, he wants more done to address tank farm safety to “lower the anxiety level” for residents who live near it.
Trudeau “said all the right things,” Hurley said, but the proof for him will be seeing what action happens between now and the federal election in October.