Skip to content

TransLink spending like 'drunken sailor': mayor

Jackson critical of donation for survey participation

Delta's mayor is slamming TransLink for offering charitable donations in exchange for survey participation.

TransLink hired Ipsos Reid to conduct a survey that went out to 170 stakeholders, to see how it could better communicate with the groups, offering a $100 donation to charity for those that participated.

Lois Jackson said she's concerned by this kind of spending.

"It's just another example of people in charge of (a) multi-million-dollar (organization) spending like a drunken sailor. I just think it's terrible," Jackson said.

"I have never heard of anything like that. Frankly, to be serious about it, but I can't be serious about it, because it's just laughable," she said. "It's kind of insulting. It's like, we know you won't respond, so if you respond we'll give you a hundred dollars for charity. That is not good."

Jackson, along with other mayors, is calling for an audit of TransLink.

The Mayor's Council on Regional Transportation renewed a motion last month for an audit of TransLink through the Auditor General or the Auditor General for Local Government.

"If there's some question about how municipalities are run, and they are run by people who are elected and accountable, then it would seem very logical that TransLink, that does not have an elected board, is not transparent, is totally behind closed doors, borrows money like a drunken sailor, they should be audited also," Jackson said.

Erin Dermer, spokesperson for TransLink, said the survey was sent to local and provincial politicians, industry groups such as BCAA and select business organizations.

Dermer said the purpose of the survey was to see how TransLink could better communicate with these groups and added the dona-tion incentive is offered because two past surveys didn't get a great response. TransLink has capped the amount of money it will donate at $5,000.

"Our purpose is to improve our communications with these key stakeholder groups who also communicate about TransLink and TransLink issues with their own audiences. We are sorry that some local politicians have taken issue with this," Dermer said.

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said he believes TransLink is a finely run organization, but he understands why the mayors are calling for an audit.

"They want to be able to look to their public and say, we have done this review, we have done an independent audit of this, everything is running efficiently."

He added that it is not an unreasonable request.

Lekstrom said he is looking forward to meeting with the Mayor's Council on March 7.