Feb 2,2008 cbc.ca


Last Updated: Saturday, February 2, 2008 | 10:30 AM PT 

The British Columbia government says it wants to use SkyTrain-like technology to build the planned $1.4-billion Evergreen rapid transit line to the Vancouver suburbs of Port Moody and Coquitlam.

Map of proposed Evergreen rapid transit line that will provide links to key Vancouver suburbs.Map of proposed Evergreen rapid transit line that will provide links to key Vancouver suburbs.

That marks a change from early proposals that included a plan to build a light rapid transit line down Port Moody's main street, which would have cost about $200 million less to construct.

B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon said Friday that SkyTrain technology makes the best business sense for the Evergreen line, which will connect to an existing SkyTrain station in Burnaby that runs into Vancouver. The SkyTrain runs primarily on an elevated rail line.

"A key finding of the business case was the recommendation to go with SkyTrain-like technology," he said.

The provincial government is increasing its financial commitment to the project to $400 million, and will be seeking matching funds from Ottawa, Falcon said.

A light rail line had been considered for the route, and it would be cheaper, but TransLink Chief Executive Officer Pat Jacobsen said SkyTrain would have much lower annual operating costs, shorter travel times for commuters, and could carry more people.

The route will start at the existing Millennium Line Lougheed station and wind up near Douglas College in Coquitlam, travelling near the CP Rail line through Port Moody, Falcon said.

The project, which Falcon said may become a public-private partnership, has a target completion date of 2014.

Flip-flop result of poor planning: councillor

Not everyone is in favour of the new proposal.

Port Moody Coun. Mike Clay said it shows a lack of government planning and poor spending of tax dollars.

"All these public consultations and the engineering designs and it's like, really now, you're going to go back to the plan you had in 2000," he said.

The change most likely came about because the previous plan "was a bad plan," Clay said.

Coquitlam Mayor Maxine Wilson said she wants public consultation.

The Tri-City mayors weren't told about the latest version of the Evergreen Line until just before the announcement, she added. The Tri-Cities is an informal term used to describe three adjacent suburban cities and two villages in the northeast sector of the Vancouver, B.C., metropolitan area Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.