June 7,2006

Community association to hold public meeting on LRT line

By Brooke Larsen - Staff Reporter

The Evergreen Line and its effects on traffic will be front and centre tonight (Wednesday) at a public meeting hosted by the Burquitlam Community Association (BCA).

About 100 people - including residents, councillors and TransLink planners - will talk traffic at the town hall-style meeting, said BCA past-president Don Violette.

"The line is a big thing for our community, and it could have big effects in terms of traffic congestion," Violette said in an interview.

His biggest worry involves a tunnel that will go under Clarke Hill, especially TransLink's plan to put a portal at the corner of Como Lake Avenue and Clarke Road.

"It's a ridiculous idea and it's our number one concern for traffic and tie-ups," Violette said.

"We already have two lineups of cars, every morning, backed up from Como Lake almost to the top of the hill in Port Moody.

"This would make things even worse."

Violette also said several local businesses are worried that construction of the line will hurt them financially.

"They're expressing great apprehension about what's going to happen to their business during the construction phase," Violette said.

But he believes the line will be good for those businesses in the long run.

"It will build our neighbourhood. It doesn't have the economy it once did, and this is a way to build on that."

Violette added that he's pleased that TransLink has agreed to come to the meeting.

"I pat them on the back for that already. We don't want anyone bashing TransLink. We want to get on with business.

"It's going to stay civil, so that TransLink doesn't feel threatened, but at the same time, we'll have our objectives covered."

TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie, one of several TransLink representatives who will be at the meeting, said a tunnel portal is planned for Como Lake Avenue, although the transportation authority hasn't decided whether to use the north or the south side of the road.

"Obviously, it's a matter of listening to residents as well as technical requirements and marrying the best possible outcomes," Hardie said. "Regardless of what we decide, some people will like it and some people won't."

Hardie also said TransLink will work with local business to minimize the effects of construction.

"To the best we can, we'll promote the fact that these businesses are still open so that customers keep coming."

The Evergreen Line, which will link Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam, is scheduled for completion in 2009.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Banting Middle School, located at 820 Banting Dr.

published on 06/07/2006