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Majority support Burnaby Mountain gondola project, but not area residents: mayor

Last Updated Nov 6, 2020 at 6:18 pm PST

Nearly 13,000 people responded to TransLink's first phase of public engagement for the proposed Burnaby Mountain Gondola project. (Courtesy TransLink)
Summary

A TransLink survey found almost nine out of 10 people support a Burnaby Mountain gondola linking SFU to SkyTrain

Nearly 13,000 people responded to TransLink's first phase of public engagement for the proposed Burnaby Mountain Gondola

The gondola would provide service between SkyTrain and Burnaby Mountain, with about 25,000 daily trips: TransLink

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) — A TransLink survey found almost nine out of 10 people support a Burnaby Mountain gondola linking the SFU campus with SkyTrain service, but nothing has been costed out or approved yet.

Nearly 13,000 people responded to TransLink’s first phase of public engagement for the proposed Burnaby Mountain Gondola project.

“We heard strong support for the criteria TransLink intends to use to help frame the next phase of engagement. In addition, approximately 85 per cent of responses are either supportive or very supportive of the project in general,” says a release by Jill Drews of TransLink.

According to TransLink, the gondola would provide service between SkyTrain and Burnaby Mountain, with about 25,000 daily trips by SFU students, staff, faculty, as well as residents of UniverCity.

“Gondola cabins would depart every minute, carrying more people up the mountain per hour than current bus services and in about half the time.”

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The survey was conducted in September. TransLink also met with area residents and collected more responses through other methods.

Respondents said safety and reliability were key issues regarding the gondola, as were connections to rapid transit, environmental considerations, and frequency.

TransLink is planning another round of public engagement, focusing on three proposed routes and the cost and benefits of each, before making a final recommendation for the project to the board of directors and Mayors’ Council.

While overall approval for the project is high, Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley says only 35 per cent of people living in the Forest Grove area of Burnaby Mountain like the idea.

“The people we’re concerned about the most are the people who are affected by it so while those numbers are good there’s still a lot of work to do with the residents that will be directly affected by the propsed gondola,” he says.

“Not too many people would want to see a gondola go over their home — privacy issues, noise issues and safety issues of course.”

Hurley says the safety concerns stem from to the fact that the Sea to Sky Gondola’s cables have been cut intentionally twice, sending its cars crashing to the ground.

“So I know it’s a different type of gondola, but those concerns are still there,” he adds.

Hurley notes there are a number of things that have to happen in order to make the gondola a reality.

“When you look at it with the other Translink costs, it doesn’t seem as much, although we are talking about really big dollars –absolutely. You know, so there’s a ways to go yet. I know 85 per cent of people from all over the Lower Mainland seem to support it, but there are some hurdles to cross.”