Stewart launches gondola consult

NDP Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart will be conducting a public consultation on the proposed Burnaby Mountain gondola.

Stewart, who was recently appointed associate natural resources critic for Western Canada by the New Democratic Party, wants to see a more in-depth, inclusive consultation process on the project.

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"In all fairness to TransLink, ours is a bit more thorough," he said of his consultation plan, adding both those for and against the project had mentioned that as an issue with the TransLink consultations.

"They thought they could have been included a bit more," Stewart said.

While Stewart appreciated the information obtained through TransLink's research on the project, he said he wants a more comprehensive consultation to find out what his constituents think of it.

He has different questions, and a different focus, as well, he said.

There can be federal money available for these projects, he added, so he likes to stay aware of what's proposed in his riding.

And if the community isn't in support of the project, Stewart said, he won't be looking into federal funding opportunities.

The public consultation process will include telephone surveys, a mailout, and public meetings.

TransLink would be open to any feedback Stewart wishes to provide, spokesperson Ken Hardie said of Stewart's consultation.

"If anyone wants to provide us with information, we'll welcome it," he said.

While the gondola project is an interesting one, it isn't in TransLink's current plan, or in the 2012 supplementary plan, he added.

"The public consultation process isn't done by a long shot," Hardie said, adding it was the first phase and more consultation would be done if the project moves forward.

TransLink recently compiled a consultation summary report on the gondola project, which was released on Sept. 12.

The majority of respondents did not think that the gondola was a good solution to solving some of the challenges of travelling to and from Burnaby Mountain.

- For a longer version of this article, go to www.burnabynow.com

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