(File photo: Black Press Media)

Surrey-Langley SkyTrain business case to go to mayor’s council next week

Also plans for agreement that ‘commits’ Surrey to policies, initiatives to help ensure project’s success

A proposed Surrey-Langley SkyTrain business case will be going to the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation on Jan. 30.

Project director Jeff Busby and vice-president of transportation planning and policy Geoff Cross gave a technical briefing on the business case to media Friday (Jan. 24).

If the mayor’s council endorses the business case next Thursday, it will then be submitted to senior government. TransLink then expects final approval this summer, with construction beginning in roughly two years, some time in 2022.

That timeline, however, only applies to the first phase of the project, which will only be built out to 166th Street in Fleetwood.

The first phase would take about five-and-a-half years from the approval date, with the anticipated opening date in late 2025.

At the Jan. 30 meeting, the mayor’s council will also be asked to endorse a “Supportive Policies Agreement” that “commits the City of Surrey to policies and initiatives which will help ensure the project’s success” such as land-use planning, urban design, housing and transportation near the corridor.

It’s meant to “increase certainty” on the corridor growth to “maximize the investment performance of SkyTrain.”

Cross said the agreement is an “important aspect” for this particular project because of the change in priorities: the switch to SkyTrain to Langley, instead of LRT in Surrey.

READ ALSO: Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain, Nov. 15, 2018

READ ALSO: Surrey council unanimously passes motion to cancel LRT, Nov. 5, 2018

“A number of the efforts that theCity of Surrey has already started along the corridor to ensure that the growth, which has long been predicted to be supportive of rapid transit, is now appropriate for the level of intensity of investment for a SkyTrain project. It’s TransLink staff’s opinion that it is,” Cross said.

”It’s similar or higher than what we’ve seen in recent expansions of the SkyTrain, whether it be into the Tri-cities or down along the Canada Line.”

Busby said the business case “really sets out the benefits of delivering” the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension.

By 2035, he said, 80,000 people will live within a short walk of the proposed stations. It would connect people to 380,000 jobs and 23,000 post-secondary education spaces, Busby said.

“This is twice the number of jobs and about 10 times the number of post-secondary educational opportunities that are available without the project.”

As for the environment, Busby said it will have a reduction of greenhouse gases by more than 17,000 tonnes through the diversion of people in vehicles and diesel bus service.

“People in Surrey actually drive 11 million kilometres per day in single-occupant vehicles,” he said. “This is 64 per cent more vehicle kilometres than residents drive in Vancouver, even though Surrey is three-quarters of the size. Because the trips in Surrey are very long and they don’t have the type of transportation alternatives, it means that it’s difficult to get around without a car.

“This project will help to address that deficiency.”

Busby said that while there aren’t highrises along the Fraser Highway corridor, it is a “very dense community.”

“There are almost 70,000 people that live in Fleetwood near the proposed four stations. That’s similar to the size of New Westminster… Already there are a lot of people in the Fleetwood community that would benefit from the project.”

Currently, there is about $1.63 billion in available funding which is enough to construct the extension from King George Station to 166th Street and Fraser Highway.

The full line, TransLink previously noted, would cost about $3.1 billion.

However, if TransLink is unable to secure that funding within the next year, that cost would go up.

“Costs go up with time, so as more time elapses, we’ll need to update our cost estimates,” Busby said.

With the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project, TransLink will be using a “design build finance” model, which means TransLink will be responsible for project delivery, a contractor will complete the final design and construction, some construction costs will be financed privately with repayment “upon completion” and it will be operated and maintained by BC Rapid Transit Company.

READ ALSO: TransLink estimates the entire Surrey-Langley SkyTrain route would cost $3.12B, July 19, 2019



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock seeks assistance for park rain damage

City applies for provincial funding following closure of Ruth Johnson Park and ravine

United Nations designates Surrey a ‘Tree City’

Surrey is one of 59 cities in the world to receive the designation

In 2019, roughly one person died every three days in Surrey due to illicit drug overdoses

123 people died in the city in 2019, down from the previous year

BC Liberals firing at NDP due to fact new Surrey hospital not in budget

But Surrey-Panorama MLA Jinny Sims says business case is needed first

Surrey RCMP looking for missing boy, age 14

Brayden Ritchat, 14, last seen in the 10800-block of 141st Street in Whalley on Feb. 21

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

B.C. landlord can’t serve eviction notice because tenant is in jail

Homeowner baffled at arbitrator decision based on notice of hearing not being served properly

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read

l -->