Skip to content

Letter: Build SkyTrain up Burnaby Mountain to SFU - not a gondola

The gondola debate continues
Glacier Media file photo


SkyTrain technology has progressed from the 20th to the 21st century, while the gondola is a technology from the 20th century with additional safety modifications. SkyTrain is a (major) method of movement in Metro Vancouver and hybrid types throughout the world.

SkyTrain is versatile and can operate in harsher weather conditions. A gondola has heated wires to prevent icing, but cannot operate in wind gusts of more than 75 km/h. This year we have had numerous wind events which would have halted the use. This week we will receive strong winds predicted to be in the 80 km/h range. Gondola commuters to and from SFU would be stranded. A SkyTrain system would not be affected.

A gondola system is not diverse, going from one point to another. It would still cause volume pressures at the Production Way SkyTrain station. A SkyTrain could offer pick-up points on Hastings and Brighton, and possibly Gaglardi Way. At the top of SFU, it could have more than one stop.

A SkyTrain is a greener solution, eliminating buses. By transporting goods in the off-hours, diesel use would be eliminated. Nowhere in the proposals put forward has this been discussed.

Transporting people safely to and from SFU is of the highest priority. 

The gondola carries a higher risk factor. Since SkyTrain’s inception, 25-plus people have been killed. There is no evidence that this was due to mechanical or act of God events. 

I have not seen any reports that address the risk factors for the safety of people. We need this to move forward.

One system is the most cost-effective; develop our SkyTrain to SFU - the technology is there.

Nick Kvenich Burnaby