July 16,2010 The Now News

City council agrees to push for Evergreen Line stop near Elgin Street

West is best.

Port Moody council asserted this opinion Tuesday night by prioritizing a potential Evergreen Line station in the west end of the city.

The proposed SkyTrain route currently includes two stops in Port Moody -- one at the transit exchange near Williams and St. Johns streets and the other at Ioco Road north of Barnet Highway. A third Port Moody station is being considered further west at Queens Street.

But council unanimously agreed to tell the Evergreen Line design team that a station further west near Elgin Street would be a better option than one at the transit exchange. This decision was based on the assumption that two stations will be built in the city during the first phase of construction, with the possibility of a third location in the future.

Mayor Joe Trasolini said without a western station, passengers would face a long ride without any stops between Burquitlam station and Williams Street. Most West Coast Express commuters would prefer to transfer to the SkyTrain line in Coquitlam than in Port Moody, he added.

As well, he said more growth opportunities would develop if a station were built in the city's west end.

"If we don't do that, then any potential development of Moody Centre and west of Moody Centre would not be served," Trasolini said.

However, Coun. Diana Dilworth stressed that this growth and development would be a requirement.

"TransLink has made it very clear that even around any SkyTrain station, they expect what is called transit-orientated development. They expect to see development taking place ... and we just have to look at SkyTrain stations like Joyce Street and Metrotown to see the levels of development that will be required," Dilworth said.

"In stating our preference to go down to Queens Street, we have to acknowledge that in the future, there may be significant development that has to take place in Port Moody."

Coun. Gerry Nuttall said he would like council to start working with residents to attain the western station.

"We don't seem to be asserting ourselves as a council as much as the community is to put this station in the region of Elgin," Nuttall said.

"I think it's time that we make it clear to the people that are planning this line that it is our preferred location."

John Grasty, spokesman for the citizen-led Port Moody Western Station Committee, told council he is grateful for their support. He also noted that the grassroots organization, which represents both businesses and residents, would prefer the station be located even further west.

"Our goal has always been to position the station west of Elgin so it doesn't affect the heritage area," Grasty said.

"The further west it can go, the least it's going to affect the area."