By: Karissa Ketter, News Writer
SFU has launched a campaign in support of TransLink’s proposal to build a gondola from Production Way SkyTrain Station to the top of Burnaby Mountain. TransLink’s project plan is now complete and is awaiting approval by the Burnaby Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation.
SFU vice-president external relations Joanne Curry spoke with The Peak to discuss SFU’s support of the project. “Where we’re at now is a really important position,” said Curry.
She reported SFU will likely present to the Council in January to confirm the Production Way route option. In order for the project to proceed, the preferred route and investment plan will need to be approved by the Mayors’ Council.
Initial engagement for the project was started by Translink in January 2020. In September 2020, three route options were proposed for the gondola. TransLink conducted community surveys and found the route from Production Way to Burnaby Mountain was the most favourable.
Curry noted this gondola would solve the transportation problems for staff, students, and faculty which have “gotten worse and worse over the years.”
She noted the route from Production Way to Burnaby Mountain is one of TransLink’s lowest performing in terms of reliability, wait lines, and buses bunching up along the routes.
“Over the years, this problem has been studied particularly by TransLink and the gondola is the very best transportation solution that’s been determined,” said Curry. It is an efficient, reliable, eco-friendly, and low-cost option for commuters, according to Curry
The gondola would replace 50,000 hours of road time for the 26 fewer buses that would operate. This “would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,700 tonnes per year,” according to SFU’s website.
It could carry 3,000 people every hour and would be twice as fast of a commute from Production Way to campus.
Curry is asking students, staff, faculty, and community members to share their stories so the Burnaby Mayor’s Council can see the degree to which the community needs this.
“It’s much more meaningful if people give their personal story about how this will really impact their life and how the current situation negatively impacts their life. The more they hear from us, the more they realize this is important to the community and hopefully will feel that support,” said Curry.
Curry noted the gondola would have increased accessibility for people who require mobility accommodations. “This truly would be transformative,” she said.
TransLink reports 25,000 trips are made via public transportation up Burnaby Mountain daily. Through their community engagement surveys they found out of 13,000 people surveyed, 84% showed support for this project.
Burnaby City reports the 25,000 daily trips are “expected to rise as the campus and UniverCity community grow.”
The Peak reached out to the SFSS for a statement but did not receive a response by the deadline.
More information on the benefits of the Burnaby Mountain Gondola can be found on SFU’s website.