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Oct 15,2009 Tri City News


Illustrations show how the Evergreen Line will likely look when completed: Top photo, along Pinetree Way, next to Coquitlam Centre mall; middle photo, along North Road. The third illustration from the Evergreen Line shows the eastern portal for the tunnel (see yellow box), below the Barnet Highway near the former Andres Wines site.


Politicians may be wringing their hands over funding for the Evergreen Line but on paper — if not on concrete — the project is moving ahead.

Last week, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced the dates for a series of open houses in Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Burnaby, and released a discussion guide that contains key elements of the $1.4-billion project; that includes more details of the track alignment from Burnaby to Coquitlam, the tunnel under Clarke Hill in Port Moody and six station locations, with two more being considered.

Members of the public are being asked to comment on station design and access — such as whether they plan to walk, take a bus, car or a bike to their closest station — and how they wish to be informed about traffic pattern changes during construction (a feedback form is available online at

The first meeting will be held Saturday, Oct. 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Port Moody rec complex, 300 Ioco Rd., with another on Wednesday, Oct. 21, plus six more meetings to follow in Coquitlam on Oct. 22 and Nov. 7, Port Coquitlam on Nov. 4, Burnaby on Oct. 24 and Oct. 29.

For Port Moody residents, there is plenty to talk about at the meetings, which should shed light on key issues, including the location of the tunnel portal underneath Clarke hill required because of the steepness of the grade, how the Murray Clarke connector will be integrated with the Evergreen Line, and where the stations will be located.

“The public feedback period is starting now. Council will also hear from the community,” said Eugene Wat, the city’s director of engineering and operations.

Key concerns of the city have been integrated in the preliminary design, Wat said, noting that the Evergreen Line will exit the Clarke hill tunnel under the Barnet Highway overpass, near the former Andres Wines location, and well away from Seaview to avoid construction conflicts with the neighbourhood.

And station locations — one east of Moody Street near the West Coast Express Station and another at Ioco, adjacent to the former Irly Bird site — should accommodate current and future development, with a third PoMo station being discussed, Wat said.

Coquitlam residents can also get a clearer picture of the track alignment and station locations.

Maurice Gravelle, the city’s general manager of strategic initiatives, said residents should turn out to the open houses to get their questions answered. He said the transportation ministry has taken the lead on planning the route and has good justifications for the alignment. The ministry will also be seeking public comment on what the stations should look like.

“The province is moving forward in a timely fashion to start the design and the public feedback on this so they can move forward so they can start construction in 2010,” he said.

Coquitlam stations have been identified at Burquitlam Plaza on Clarke Road, which is slated for development, at the Coquitlam transit exchange site, and near Douglas College.

But the site hasn’t been established for the Douglas College station because several details have yet to be worked out, including the possibility of a third station along Pinetree Way in the vicinity of Lincoln, where 60% of ridership is expected to originate.

Also in Coquitlam, the discussion guide states North Road will have to be widened on the west side to accommodate the median required for the centre alignment of the track in order to keep the same number of lanes, and a traffic management plan will be developed to minimize traffic disruptions. Businesses are being assured that access will not be affected by construction.

Coquitlam hired Gravelle in August to act as a liaison between the city and the ministry on Evergreen and the Gateway Project to the south of the city. He is also overseeing large construction projects, such as the sports centre and the city’s land division.

Meanwhile, area mayors want to make sure the public turns out for the ministry’s meetings, too.

Advertisements have been placed in The Tri-City News asking people to turn out for the open houses and voice their support for the Evergreen Line.

Among the key benefits of the line is its capacity (estimated at 77,000 riders by 2021), frequency (every three minutes almost 20 hours a day), time savings (of about 45 minutes between Coquitlam town centre and Vancouver), reduced congestion and greenhouse gases, and 8,000 new jobs during construction.

Several project milestones have also been identified as the project moves towards a late 2010 construction start date. They include:

• an environmental assessment certification application expected this spring;

• station area design consultation to take place mid-2010; and

• contractor selection process to begin early-mid 2010

Already underway for the project, slated for completion in 2014, are: field work and technical studies, construction contract preparation and property needs assessment and discussions.

• Preliminary design documents available for public discussion at

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