Public engagement on Fraser Highway SkyTrain extension to Langley to start this April

Apr 1 2019, 10:35 pm

The plan for TransLink’s Fraser Highway SkyTrain extension to Langley will be opened up for public engagement as part of the process, beginning this month.

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The item says that TransLink, with participation from city staff, “will be commencing public engagement and communications on both the SLS project and SoFRT refresh.”

The first round of public engagement on the SLS project and SoFRT refresh will take place between April 8 and April 26, and will provide the public with an opportunity to:

  • Learn about rapid transit planning work on Fraser Highway, 104 Avenue and King George Boulevard;
  • Share their thoughts on priorities for transit, opportunities and concerns for these corridors;
  • Complete a survey that will help to inform planning work.

There will also be “multiple” opportunities for the public to get involved and provide feedback on these projects,” the item reads.

According to a council meeting agenda item for Monday, April 1, updates on the project – as well as the public engagement process will be provided.

Engagement will take the form of an online survey, open houses, and pop-up events in Surrey City Centre, Newton, Fleetwood, Guildford, and Langley.

In addition, a marketing campaign will take place prior to and during the engagement period, which will include, but is not limited to, print and digital advertisements, e-letter updates, and social media.

Updates on public engagement opportunities, including the dates and locations of the public open houses, will be posted online at TransLink’s project website.

If all goes as planned, a significant portion of the Expo Line’s extension could be completed by 2025. The remaining journey to Langley Centre is dependent on securing funding for the third phase of the Mayors’ Council’s plan.

Given the possibility of a SkyTrain extension being expedited, the Mayors’ Council also approved TransLink’s recommendation to cancel the new Fraser Highway B-Line that was planned as part of the first phase transit expansion plan and redirect those funds towards improving the existing 96 B-Line on the Newton-Guildford corridors, during a meeting in December of last year. It was reasoned that the new B-Line infrastructure on the Fraser Highway would only last for a few years before being demolished for SkyTrain construction.

A request from Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie to have the City of Surrey pay for some of the estimated $57 million spent by TransLink on LRT planning was also approved at the time, with support from even Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. However, the amendment on the municipal government covering “unnecessarily expended” costs was only approved after changes were made to not include a specific dollar figure and to allow Surrey to provide in-kind compensation — such as land value and other benefits — instead of solely cash.

Brodie, one of the most vocal critics on the board of the switch to SkyTrain, also posed questions over whether Surrey residents truly wanted SkyTrain over LRT.

McCallum argued this is the case.

“I can assure everybody that overwhelming numbers of Surrey residents support SkyTrain over LRT,” said McCallum at the time. “The results of the election is a referendum on what type of system the residents of Surrey want.”