Written by: Karissa Ketter, News Writer
TransLink has completed Phase 1 of their planning for the Burnaby Mountain Gondola Transit project. Phase 1 consisted of gathering community feedback on the proposed project and TransLink looked for route option preference, and aimed to discover the community’s main concerns. They released a report on the feedback they received from community members and they plan to submit their final report to the Burnaby Mayor’s Council this winter for project approval.
They have now launched Phase 2, which involves further public engagement and evaluation on the three route options.
The conclusion report from the end of Phase 1 outlines community feedback that was gathered through an online survey, virtual stakeholder meetings, virtual open houses, and direct phone and email communication. They concluded that the average level of support was 87%.
Through the period of September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020, 12,955 British Columbians were surveyed, and TransLink gathered the themes that most participants were concerned about. The top ranked priority was providing safety and security, followed by improved all-weather travel, connecting existing transit networks to meet future travel demands, reduced GHG emissions and air pollution, and improved travel time and transit reliability relative to the current bus system.
A route for the gondola has not been established yet. The routes proposed are as follows. Route 1 is a direct 2.7km route from Production Way-University SkyTrain Station to SFU Burnaby Campus. Route 2 is an indirect path from Production–University SkyTrain Station to Gaglardi Way. It would change direction at an angle station without stopping and the terminal would be near the bus exchange at SFU. Route 3 is a western route from Lake City Way SkyTrain Station to SFU Burnaby campus. This route would also change direction at an angle station, and continue to SFU Burnaby Campus. As previously reported in The Peak, a report by the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) saw a majority of students prefer Route 1.
Similarly to the SFSS’ report, a preference for Route 1 was expressed and noted in the report at the General Stakeholders Meeting. However, the survey results do not indicate which of the three routes the public was favourable of. At the Virtual Open House and Town Hall, a preference for Route 1 was noted.
Of those who participated in the survey, 37% were in the age group 15–24 and the average support for the project from that group was 91%. 35% of the survey was taken by residents of Burnaby: these results were split into residents in the Forest Grove neighbourhood (18%), UniverCity (17%), and other Burnaby neighbourhoods (60%). The average response of support from Forest Grove was 44% while UniverCity maintained 91% support from respondents.
TransLink also held workshops in the Forest Grove area to address their concerns. Questions around safety and emergency plans, noise and privacy for residents around Route 1, and the loss of bus service to Burnaby Mountain were noted in the report.
TransLink also noted support from Indigenous peoples. They found that the average level of support from local Indigenous peoples was 81%.
Those with self-identified disabilities who took the survey expressed 85% of support for the project.
TransLink’s contact information can be found on their website where they are encouraging continued feedback.