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City and province tussle over SkyTrain station

It has been one step forward and one step back for the proposed Cameron Station on the Evergreen Line, and that trend continued at Monday night's Burnaby council meeting.

It has been one step forward and one step back for the proposed Cameron Station on the Evergreen Line, and that trend continued at Monday night's Burnaby council meeting.

Cameron, which was one of the stations cut from the original development plan for the line, would be located in the northeast section of Burnaby.

City staff released a report last week suggesting a proposal to ensure a guide-way modification be made to the line, to allow for Cameron Station to possibly be added later on.

The proposal stated the City of Burnaby would be willing to go in on a 50/50 cost-sharing agreement for the modification with the province, with a maximum cost to the city of $3 million.

Since the report was posted online Friday, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation has stated to the media that it would be willing to cover costs exceeding $3 million on the project.

"The province is prepared to cover the costs exceeding $3 million, including environmental mitigation and any over-runs, if Burnaby pays the initial $3 million to modify the project to make provision for this future station," Kate Trotter, public affairs officer at the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, wrote in an email to the Burnaby NOW on Monday.

"The Evergreen Line project is designing the guideway to allow for additional stations if community partners fund them, and if they promote transit-oriented development and increased ridership," she stated, adding the province is working with Coquitlam on adding Lincoln Station to the line, as community partners are funding it.

"Burnaby has been offered the same opportunity to fund additional stations as other municipalities," she wrote. "The province has offered to make provision for a future Cameron Station by modifying the Evergreen Line design."

But at Monday night's council meeting, Mayor Derek Corrigan made it clear this is not what the city was requesting.

"It was fairly cute, the announcement the ministry made," he said.

Burnaby city manager Bob Moncur clarified at the meeting that the city was looking for a 50/50 cost-sharing agreement to a maximum of $3 million for Burnaby - not to simply put forward $3 million.

According to SNC-Lavalin's estimates, the cost for the modification would be about $2.75 million, Moncur said, not including other related costs such as environmental remediation.

SNC-Lavalin Inc. is designing and building the Evergreen Line.

Coun. Sav Dhaliwal said he supported the proposal but with some trepidation.

While he said he understood this was likely the only way the city would possibly get Cameron Station, he added it was setting a bad precedent, as the costs should be the responsibility of the provincial government.

Coun. Dan Johnston said he shared Dhaliwal's concerns but was pleased the city was trying to work with the province for the sake of development in Lougheed Town Centre.

Burnaby council passed the motion on the proposal, which contained a number of other specific requirements.

The proposal also stated the city would be willing to put forward an additional $500,000 as part of a cost-sharing agreement with the City of Coquitlam, to enhance the landscaping along the centre median of North Road as part of the project.

Through the municipal agreement, the city would also purchase a parcel of land from the province, at 2889 North Rd.

The 11-kilometre rapid transit line includes fewer stations than originally proposed, and Burnaby council has been pressing to have a guideway for a future Cameron station included as part of the project, since there are physical requirements that would make it impossible to add it to the system at a later stage.