West Point Grey: Point Grey Village BIA talks transit with candidates

The president of the Point Grey Village BIA says the association talked to the ridings two key candidates for the upcoming provincial election, Liberal Premier Christy Clark and NDP candidate David Eby.

"[We] expressed our interests and concerns about a transit corridor," said Michael McBride, owner of Michael McBride Menswear at 4426 West 10th Ave., which is in its 25th year. "Were powerless in it anyway. If TransLink decides theyre going to do it and they get the funds, the citys all for it because they hate cars and they could probably tag some bike lanes along up the hill."

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McBride would prefer a tunnelled train along West 10th Avenue to the University of B.C.

"They would be better served having one from Richmond into here," he added. "If youve ever been on Southwest Marine first thing in the morning or late in afternoon going home, its a parking lot."

Rose Concepcion, co-owner of MIX The Bakery at 4430 West 10th Ave. and a BIA board member, agrees a tunnelled train would be the least disruptive.

"We definitely dont want a repeat of what happened at Cambie," said Concepcion, referring to the loss in business merchants suffered along that street during construction of the Canada Line. "Who can survive that?"

Concepcion knows tunnelling would be more expensive than other options.

"But it depends if youre just looking at financial costs, or what the cost will be to the community and the surrounding businesses," she said.

TransLink released its UBC Rapid Transit Line Study in March which recommended three options for rapid transit to UBC: street-level light rapid transit, akin to Calgarys system or the streetcars that ran in Vancouver during the Olympics, from Commercial and Broadway along Broadway, West 10th Avenue and University Boulevard; a subway from VCC-Clark SkyTrain station to Arbutus Street combined with light rapid transit from the Main Street-Science World SkyTrain station to UBC, or a mainly tunnelled train from VCC-Clark to UBC via Great Northern Way, Broadway, West 10th and University Boulevard.

A TransLink report states at-grade light rapid transit would cost $1.11 billion to construct, $1.38 billion to $1.84 billion for a partially tunnelled route, or $3.01 billion for a subway. Combined with proposed rapid transit in Surrey,TransLink spokesperson Jennifer Siddon said costs range from $2 billion to $5.2 billion.

"Now the heavy lifting starts," she said. "Its the conversations about how do you fund it, whats the best fit for the region and prioritizing those kinds of projects."

The city and UBC report about the corridor that was prepared by KPMG and released in February recommended rail-based rapid transit, likely a subway, to UBC.

McBride rejects surface rail that would eradicate at least one row of parking.

"Small businesses cant afford to lose that kind of accessibility for customers," he said. "Business is tough enough for us and the city isnt our friend by any sense of the imagination."

Siddon emphasized the potential line is just one part of the regional transportation plan.

"I dont expect to be in business by the time they ever get around to it. Theres just no money," McBride said. "And if anyone deserves transit its east, getting out and getting people off the 401 [Trans-Canada Highway]."



Note: This story has been corrected since it was posted April 25.

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