Whistler gondola. (SFU)

SFU gondola gets preliminary support from Burnaby council

Councillors vote to have TransLink further research proposal for a cable tramway

Plans for a gondola that could solve a transportation headache to and from Simon Fraser University’s campus on Burnaby Mountain have edged closer to reality.

City councillors in Burnaby have voted in favour of having TransLink further research the proposal for a cable tramway capable of carrying some of the 25,000 students and staff who now bus to the campus.

READ MORE: Gondola axed between Burrard Inlet and North Shore

This is the first time council has endorsed a gondola and the vote keeps it alive, although no funds have been committed to the project that is estimated to cost up to $255 million, depending on the route.

The TransLink website says there is “still a compelling case for a gondola transit solution” to carry passengers between the SkyTrain station at the foot of Burnaby Mountain and the campus, 370 metres above.

TransLink’s investment plan includes funding for further project planning work to advance the design, conduct more technical studies and assess public support.

Colin Fowler, spokesman for the group Build the SFU Gondola, says even though the project is barely underway it’s still a victory because it amounts to the first definitive action in a decade.

Council has been told the straightest gondola route would take about five minutes and would operate in any weather, replacing a 15-minute, winding, eight-kilometre bus route that is liable to disruptions in winter conditions.

Fowler says a gondola would also make good environmental sense.

“(It’s) double the capacity of the existing buses, you have huge travel time savings for students, you have 1,870 tonnes of greenhouse gases that will be saved every year, and no more snow days. We don’t have to get out of class and worry about getting home,” he says. (CKNW)

The Canadian Press

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