I would like to make public the ongoing problems of the future of Skytrain. Expansion of Skytrain west of Vancouver is in limbo on Vancouver Island. We need a walk-on ferry from Seabus at Canada Place to Chemainus on Vancouver Island. Burnaby at the centre of the Expo Line and Millennium line with most of the ridership to Chemainus, the central point of Gulf Island commuters and tourists who could enjoy the route from Duncan to Parksville-Qualicum Beach.
Skytrain would have many more stops than conventional commuter rail. Taking in the fact VIA Rail no longer serves the Island because of bad track on the ground the truth is out.
In the past, the B.C. government has done studies only for the price of repairing bridges and track with top heavy estimates. B.C. wants to take the lead, however.
The Island Corridor Foundation owns the track and continues to lobby the government. That foundation is a not-for-profit organization that has also stalled using the reasoning of aboriginal reserve rights impeding the repairs necessary to use a commuter train. The answer is a 70-mile stretch of Skytrain. That mileage would be near or equal the amount we have now and if we include the Langley to Surrey extension we have over that.
Both Vancouver Island and the Langley area are enjoying a real estate boom of new housing and that includes the condominium pods at each Skytrain station. Metrotown in Burnaby is an example of compressed population becoming the norm at Brentwood and now Lougheed City.
Many people want the Island commute to buy housing there and maintain their jobs in Greater Vancouver. As Burnaby fills up with condominium cities, the demand for single family houses goes up.
Jagmeet Singh, the federal N.D.P. leader running in Burnaby South, should consider asking for federal money for this situation. It would help the B.C. government solve how much it would cost to run Skytrain rather than repair or replace old bridges and right of ways.
I come up with a lower cost for Skytrain being it is above level crossings which slow trains down and avoid the car-train collisions. It saves lives, too. More important, it puts Skytrain controlled by a joint Mayors Council in Greater Vancouver in continuity with one on the Island that has had its first meeting.
The rail underneath it could be used as a bike trail much like under Skytrain here. BC Ferries could be the water transport as it has legislation to do so. In B.C., the government is stalled with a deadlock and the Green Party holding the balance of power. That could continue with the result of the Nanaimo seat. So it very important the Mayors Council represent public transit with this walk-on service.
Founder, Lower Mainland Commuter Rail Consortium