July 12,2012 Tri City News
The Evergreen Line project team has turned down Port Moody council’s request for a third station at the western edge of the city.
A letter from the project team’s PoMo segment manager, Wendy Itagawa, said changing the location of a future west station, from the Queen Street one already approved to one at the northern end of the tunnel portal, would pose several problems, inclzqding schedule delays as well as environmental, safety and cost impacts.
Technically, locating a station at the north portal would require raising Barnet Highway by three meters, which would incur significant construction and traffic impacts as well as increased costs, Itagawa states in a letter to the city.
Given that proposals for the Evergreen Line are already being considered based on the approved alignment and station locations, changing the station location would delay the awarding of the contract and the start of construction, thus pushing back the planned 2016 completion date.
It would also require amending the Environmental Assessment Office certificate, which was approved in early 2011 based on the preliminary design.
The north portal location poses environmental risks on the sensitive area at Schoolhouse Creek, the letter notes, and could be a safety risk given the nearby active industrial area.
Even adjusting the alignment design to allow for a future station at the north portal would increase costs, according to Itagawa.
Jillian Hull, who represents a group called the West Port Moody Property Owners Group, said she was disappointed to see the Evergreen Line project team’s response but hopes a station can be built further west than Queen Street.
“I hope council sees the wisdom of pursuing negotiations, which would allow good solutions to flow from good design, instead of bad solutions from bad design,” Hull said.
But Wendy Swalwell, who lives across from the former Andres Winery site, again expressed concerns that the West Port Moody Property Owners are, in fact, a special interest group consisting mainly of investors and developers eager to transform that end of the city to a home for 15,000 new residents.
She questioned why a majority of council members were so quick to support the group’s motion, particularly if it meant adding a huge amount of density to west Port Moody to justify a third station, the cost of which might have to be borne by the city.
“The most irresponsible thing... councillors can do is to blindly vote for something they were not directed to do by their constituents,” Swalwell said.