It was announced in April 2009 to curtail fare evasion and supposed to be ready by 2013 for $100 million. It is now $194 million and counting. No new launch date has been announced and 2015 is one quarter old.
Cubic Transportation Systems’ heavily censored, yet full-of-clues, monthly project reports to TransLink from 2013 and 2014 formed the basis of my story and they are posted below in two parts. I obtained them via Freedom of Information. I have more Compass documents to show you in the days to come.
Is TransLink’s excuse to censor the documents driven by a real fear of harm to its finances? Or is it a convenient smokescreen because it is actually scared of public scrutiny while it spends $6 million on a campaign intended to con the public into green-lighting the first step to funding its $7.7 billion expansion?
I have appealed to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to force TransLink to disclose the records fully and completely.
Big secret on Little Mountain: A select group of municipal officials has been invited to learn more about Compass at an April 8 “reception and technology demonstration.” Not at a SkyTrain station or SeaBus terminal, but at the Seasons in the Park restaurant atop Queen Elizabeth Park. There, they will be wined-and-dined by the San Diego company, which hired Lecia Stewart as its lobbyist in November. Her registration runs through May 31, two days after voting closes in the plebiscite. (UPDATE, April 2): Invitees were uninvited on April 2, when they received an email mentioning the event had been postponed because of unspecified scheduling conflicts. Had the event gone forward, it would have been on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the announcement of the project on April 9 ,2009.
Stewart’s website describes her as a “Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Consultant, Bid & Pursuit Strategies & Stakeholder Strategies consultant” (the capital letters are her’s, not mine). Her consultancy’s roster includes Ian Wardley, a consultant to TransLink on the Compass project. She is a former Millennium Line project head and Bombardier executive who has done business with troubled SNC-Lavalin.
Fun with numbers: What does $194 million look like? That’s enough to buy 13,857,142 of the $14 Suunto Clipper compasses at Mountain Equipment Co-op.