Long-talked about Burnaby Mountain gondola up for discussion at Mayors’ Council meeting

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – Good news could be on the way if you commute to Burnaby Mountain.

The Translink Mayors’ Council is set to vote on whether or not to move ahead with a proposed gondola up to Simon Fraser University on Thursday.

Staff has already recommended the next step, which includes public consultation, but there are a lot of issues that still need to be addressed.

At the top of that list is how to pay for the skyride, which would see a line from the Production Way-University Skytrain station to SFU’s Town Square.

Burnaby City Council endorsed a gondola up to SFU in May. Many commuters in that area have said a gondola would help ease travel pains on Burnaby Mountain, which only has a single road on and off of it.

Residents have also cited safety concerns due to the lack of transportation options on and off Burnaby Mountain. They say in the case of an earthquake or major fire, the only plan to get the 6,000 people living in the UniverCity neighbourhood is to have them hike down.

A gondola could also provide alternate transportation options during the winter, when buses often have trouble getting up the mountain. It would also help ease congestion, some say.

There are two proposed routes for a gondola, should it actually go through. One of the routes would see it pass directly over homes at the base of the mountain, while the second would skirt around the neighbourhood and the Kinder Morgan tank farm.

The concept for a gondola up Burnaby Mountain has been studied three times in the last decade.

TransLink says an assessment done in 2017 found a compelling case for replacing current diesel-run bus service with a gondola alternative. The transit authority has said a gondola could help deal with continued population growth, including the increase in the number of students enrolling at SFU over time.

It does note, however, that more work needs to be done to bring costs for a potential gondola down.

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