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Letter: Anti-Burnaby gondola crowd just 'parroting nonsense'

Opposition more about wires overhead than efficient transit, says letter
A rendering of how the gondola up Burnaby Mountain would look. TransLink graphic


Re: TransLink could fix Burnaby pass-ups by adding more buses, NOW Letters

Either select Forest Grove members are engaging in bad faith questioning or are embarrassingly bad at reading and understanding the expert analysis, which has been rehashed over and over.

No matter how many times we or TransLink provide the information and data, it is quickly spat back into our faces when someone opposed to the gondola writes another incredibly inaccurate and misinformation-laden letter.

The truth is, there is no point in writing letters back and forth to the gondola’s opposition within Forest Grove. We can simply copy and paste lines from previous letters because we are just re-stating the same facts to the same deaf ears.

We only do this to ensure the public record contains factual information from experts, not hearsay and make-believe nonsense, such as the claim that TransLink ignores the Burnaby 200 Conservation Area (which is actually named and identified in TransLink’s environmental considerations maps).

The opposition within Forest Grove can spew all sorts of facts about electric buses, but it does not change what is fundamentally an over-capacity problem. They cannot “just run more buses” — this has been stated for years — and it would not matter if SFU plows the roads more in the winter, as the capacity problem exists year-round. The unpredictable and sometimes multiple-bus waits that arise from overcrowding can lengthen actual trip time considerably — well beyond the base 15-minute bus running time from Production Way Station to SFU — and neither electrified buses nor more snow-capable buses would address this significantly.

The sheer inadequacy and inefficiency of the bus system serving Burnaby Mountain can be illustrated by just how much of an improvement a Gondola presents along the direct Route 1. With predictable cabins arriving about every 30 seconds, and taking only six minutes to finish a trip, an SFU student could have arrived at their classroom on top of the mountain sooner than they would have been able to get out of the cold and on board a bus at the bottom of the mountain, at Production Way Station. And that is even when factoring in walking times — the Route 1 terminal location has the greatest number of current and planned SFU buildings within a five-minute walk.

Regardless of who would operate the gondola, as a TransLink project it would integrate with the fare system, including the U-Pass. This has been known since the first round of gondola engagement back in 2011. The three authors also choose to present their case as though UniverCity residents are opposed to the gondola — when, in fact, in phase 1 engagement, 89% of UniverCity residents either strongly or moderately support the gondola. And, although it would be more convenient to say all of Forest Grove is opposed to the gondola, 34% of the community is strongly or moderately in favour as well — far from the total opposition that is claimed.

In the last paragraph, we finally see the three authors’ real reasons for writing their letter — they don’t like the gondola’s aesthetics. This is all their argument has ever been about. It isn’t about being a “fiscal steward.” It isn’t about “a better transit system.” It is about a few people who don’t want to see some wires over their house and are determined to say whatever it takes to kill the project. Mr. Porter specifically has been publicly opposed to the gondola since 2011. It’s a shame he hasn’t become more informed along the way and chooses to continue parroting nonsense.

Daryl Dela Cruz and Colin Fowler, Co-Founders, Build the SFU Gondola