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TransLink unveils 360° virtual tour of Burnaby Mountain gondola: public feedback wanted

A new flyover video shows a proposed rendering of the gondola route and cabin.

TransLink has released a new virtual flyover of the planned Burnaby Mountain gondola, and it’s now looking for public feedback on the project.

You can share your thoughts through an online survey between Nov. 6 and 19.

The online survey includes questions on what the gondola’s cabins, towers and terminals should look like, how to minimize potential environmental damage and what kinds of trips are being made up the mountain.

The project was included in TransLink’s 10-year priorities last year, which proposed to build the gondola in the first five years of the plan.

Groups like the SFU student society are supportive of the gondola, which they say will vastly improve the commute to the university. Neighbourhood groups like Stop the Burnaby Mountain Gondola Citizens’ Group oppose it as they note the 145 bus to SFU from Production Way isn’t over capacity.

The group also raised concerns about the fact that Burnaby city council endorsed the project in a closed meeting without public discussion.

A rendering of the planned Burnaby Mountain gondola station to Simon Fraser University's bus exchange in Burnaby. By TransLink

A new business case guide shows TransLink has confirmed 3S gondola technology, like Whistler’s Peak-to-Peak gondola, with two terminals at Production Way-University SkyTrain station and near SFU Town Square on the east side of campus.

Four towers would hold up the system, and there would be attendants in each terminal to help with boarding and alighting.

TransLink says the ultimate gondola capacity could be about 4,000 passengers per hour per direction and a trip time of seven minutes. Gondolas would depart about every minute during peak periods, according to TransLink, and could be reduced in periods of low demand.

Cabins could have a capacity of about 30 passengers, along with:

  • seats and a flexible area for customers
  • One space for a mobility device per cabin
  • One bike or micro-mobility device allowed per cabin
  • In-cabin ventilation; windows would be inoperable
  • Two-way communication with security
  • CCTV
  • Transit Police emergency number
A rendering of one of four towers for the Burnaby Mountain gondola. This is tower three facing east on Gaglardi Road. By TransLink

TransLink wants public feedback on certain aspects of cabin design and the approach to boarding and alighting.

The next steps for the project include finalizing the business case with costs, presenting it to the TransLink Mayors’ Council and getting funding.

The most recent cost estimate to build the gondola, as of 2020, was $210 million.

TransLink expects to complete the business case by the end of 2024.

Update: This story was updated to reflect TransLink rescheduling an in-person open house and the dates of a gondola cabin engagement booth at Lougheed mall. The engagements were rescheduled "due to technical issues," according to TransLink.