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SFU students host town hall to boost Burnaby Mountain gondola project

Event to be held Jan. 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Rendering of the proposed Burnaby Mountain gondola

Another event providing debate to the Burnaby Mountain Gondola project has been set for this week. 

The Simon Fraser Student Society has announced that it - in collaboration with Simon Fraser University and Graduate Student Society - is organizing a virtual town hall for Friday, Jan. 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"The adverse effects of climate change as well as an increased number of commuters up and down Burnaby Mountain means the need for faster, safer, more accessible and cost-effective forms of transportation for SFU students," a release said. 

"The SFSS believes that the proposed Burnaby Mountain Gondola project is best suited to help deal with projected transport capacity, will better connect the community beyond Burnaby Mountain, and enhance quality of life for all students."

In July, TransLink submitted more details to the city, outlining public engagement, commitments and proposed next steps. 

In May of 2019, city council endorsed a recommendation that supports the gondola link from SkyTrain to the top of Burnaby Mountain, subjected to five conditions: 

  • Residents - Minimize impacts to residents living near the gondola 
  • Environment - Minimize impacts to areas with high ecological values, such as fish-bearing streams and riparian areas
  • Compensation - Provide fair compensation to affected property owners for intrusion of the gondola, both for its physical footprint on their lands and its aerial passage over them
  • Options - All three options should be considered on an equal basis in the next stage of analysis and public consultation
  • Consultation - Engage the community in meaningful consultation, especially with respect to alignment options and report back to council on the results

Afterward, two public engagement surveys were undertaken by TransLink, which found 85% of respondents supported route number one, which would be Production Way - University Station via SkyTrain and the Gondola making its way to the SFU bus exchange. 

The route length would be 2.7 km with five towers and a travel time of six minutes with TransLink adding the option has good financial performance, the highest societal benefits, lowest capital and operating costs, smallest footprint, best geotechnical conditions, fewest park impacts and fewest environment impacts. 

City staff agrees that route one would be the best technical solution. 

The Burnaby Mountain Gondola would provide service between SkyTrain and Burnaby Mountain for the 25,000 daily trips made by SFU students, staff, faculty, and residents. Gondola cabins would depart every minute, carrying more people up the mountain per hour than current bus services and in about half the time. The proposed project is not yet approved or funded.