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Sep 10,2010 Tri City News



Leaving Port Coquitlam off the Evergreen Line is an oversight that is both short-sighted and bizarre, says a local environmental organization.

Burke Mountain Naturalists’ spokesperson, Elaine Golds, says thousands of PoCo residents could have used the rapid transit line if a station were built in the city. And while accommodation will be made for a future spur to PoCo at a Coquitlam station, it’s doubtful it will be built soon.

“It does seem to be a little bizarre as to where it’s going,” Golds said of the $1.4-billion line from Burnaby to Coquitlam.

In a report to the Environmental Assessment Review, Golds, who is also the president of the Port Moody Ecological Society (and The Tri-City News’ Green Scene columnist), said it was “extremely disappointing the Evergreen Line will not extend into downtown Port Coquitlam” and in future years the decision to build it only as far as Coquitlam “will be seen as short-sighted and bizarre.”

The submission also questions the decision to choose SkyTrain-type technology over light rail and says holding public consultation for the environmental assessment review during the summer was a barrier to participation because many people were on holidays.

Her group is also worried construction of the Evergreen Line will cause problems for South Schoolhouse, Slaughterhouse and Suterbrook creeks, and wants to see plans for containment of water flows and other potential issues that could arise.

Golds explained there is potential for a lot of damage to occur on South Schoolhouse because tunnel boring will occur immediately uphill from the creek, and at Suterbrook there could be issues during construction of Ioco Station.

She said problems at Suterbrook could have been avoided if land had been set aside for a station.

The group wants monitoring to start immediately and future plans to include an over-wintering area for fish on South Schoolhouse Creek near St. Johns and Albert streets, more data about the effect of construction on animals, such as the Pacific water shrew, which may still exist in the area, and more details about replacing 715 mature trees that will have to be removed to make way for the line.

The deadline for public comment on the environmental assessment review has passed.

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