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TransLink chair vows transparency

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

TransLink’s newly elected board chairwoman Marcella Szel.

TransLink’s newly elected board chairwoman Marcella Szel. (HANDOUT)

TransLink’s newly elected board chairwoman Marcella Szel is promising an open style of leadership amid concerns that her team works behind closed doors.

A former lawyer and Canadian Pacific Railway executive, Szel’s new post was announced on Wednesday by TransLink. Her first meeting as chair of the TransLink management board is expected later this month.

“The board is looking at ways in which we can more effectively provide information to those who care to know around key issues,” Szel said.

“We will use some kind of very interactive forum where those who are interested can come in and understand what the issues are that we’re grappling with, and where we are on those issues, and what the implications are.”

She expects to have more details on whether the “forum” would simply be allowing the public into the currently private TransLink board meetings, or through another venue.

Szel said that, personally, she does not feel the board’s closed-door policy is a “significant issue,” as it hasn’t been brought up among the people she’s been speaking with. She did, however, acknowledge there are those who do feel it needs to be addressed.

Darrell Mussatto, mayor of the City of North Vancouver, said Szel’s pronouncement is a “small step in the right direction.” But he believes a provincially appointed board remains a problem, as the public’s control over who serves on the board is limited.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie is less confident there would be any change, pointing to how TransLink’s former board chair, Nancy Olewiler, had made similar promises that were never realized in her term.

“Every suggestion that’s been made similar to this has been an empty promise,” he said.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, meanwhile, said the board also lacks a stance on the upcoming referendum on transit funding.

“It seems to me, her view that she wants to open things up comes rather late in the game,” he said.



Do you think TransLink will become significantly more open in its approach?

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