Further to Brian Tuomi’s letter proposing an alternative to the $12.5-million parkade opposed by citizens and pushed through by council without any detailed profit-and-loss calculations:
During his state-of-the-city address on Oct. 7, 2015, Mayor Wayne Baldwin stated: “ We have to look at how to move 10,000 people in our condominiums to and from the waterfront without the necessity of driving. Consequently, we have asked staff to investigate the feasibility of a funicular system.” (Future looks ‘bright,’ Oct. 9, 2015.)
I wrote mayor and council on Oct. 9 of that year pointing out that the then-traffic and infrastructure committee advised council in 2010 of contacts with two or three European manufacturers of funicular and other systems for White Rock. My contacts were interested and asked few questions such as maximum gradients before an on-site visit. The then-chief engineer, a member of the committee, was asked to provide the information.
Despite several followups for six weeks, he did not find the time. That’s not acceptable in business and I informed the Europeans to drop it.
The executive assistant to the mayor and city manager replied to my communication stating that the mayor has asked the director of engineering to connect with me and looks forward to receiving further information on this matter.
On Jan. 29, 2016, the director called, and I brought up the possible funicular system in White Rock. He advised that the city had hired a consultant from Alberta.
I would have thought a director of engineering would have contacted one or two of the handful of manufacturers for discussions. After all, these people are designing, building and, in some cases, financing systems for well over 100 years.
One more item: I discovered that at a May 27, 2015 meeting of the economic investment committee, it was stated “that a consultant will be hired to assist staff in investigating a funicular railway.”
That was some five months prior to the mayor’s announcement.
Wolfgang Schmitz, White Rock