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Letter: Burnaby gondola engagement process isn't 'manipulated' – it's fact

Previous letter called 'baseless'
TransLink rendering of the Burnaby gondola station.


Re: Letter: Burnaby gondola engagement process 'seems manipulated', NOW Letters

Mr. Ferguson has written in to oppose the gondola before, and it’s unfortunate to see he has not taken his due diligence before writing a second letter.

Per the 2018 feasibility study, only $200,000 of the expected $255.3 million in benefits from a gondola come from the reduced vehicle emissions as a result of replacing diesel buses – the benefit from electrifying the buses would essentially amount to a rounding error.

The gondola generates the vast majority of expected benefits from travel time savings, which reflects what TransLink has stated before: the buses – regardless of whether they are diesel, electrified, or natural gas – cannot handle the sheer volume of ridership, as the "system is operating beyond its capacity." Why should taxpayers throw money at an ineffective system of electric buses?

Mr. Ferguson’s question about the location of the terminus is also easily answered. In TransLink’s November 2020 Preliminary Route Evaluation Report, it is shown that Route 1, terminating at UniverCity Town Square, is estimated to have 30,400 riders per day by 2035 – more than the 28,200 offered by Route 2 or Route 3’s 25,400 riders.

It’s very simple – it’s the cheapest route with the highest ridership. How is that not the best option?

It is very obvious Mr. Ferguson has no awareness of the current reality of online courses: students, and many professors, strongly dislike it. This has been well-documented, especially recently as several universities have extended winter breaks for an additional week to allow students more time to recover from their burnout. Online courses are unsustainable and are simply a way for students to get an education despite the pandemic.

It doesn’t matter who started advocating for the project; the gondola has been well-studied and has consistently shown high benefits for its costs, better than almost every project before it. The view from the parking lots is irrelevant to solving our transportation issues, but SFU has long-term plans to reutilize these lots for campus expansion. This is not a new idea, as many of SFU’s former parking lots have has classroom space built upon them when the need arose before.

If there is proof of “manipulation” of the survey, please bring it forward. Otherwise, leave your baseless allegations out of the public eye. Just because you don’t like the data doesn’t mean the process is flawed.

Colin Fowler and Daryl Dela Cruz

Co-Founders, Build the SFU Gondola

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