Burnaby still seeking answers on Cameron Station agreement
It appears the funding to make a future Cameron Station possible on the Evergreen Line isn't as secure as it seemed a week ago.
On Oct. 18, Burnaby council issued a press release calling the province's refusal to fund design changes and preparatory work on the rapid transit line's guideway "perilously short-sighted."
With higher-density development likely for the area around Lougheed Town Centre and Cameron Street, council believes there should at least be a possibility for a station to be added in the future. But such a station would likely be prohibitively expensive unless the preparatory work is done now, and to help make it happen, Burnaby is willing to split the cost of the work, up to a maximum $3 million.
By Friday morning, after inquiries by the NewsLeader, the Ministry of Transportation appeared to be agreeing.
"The Province has offered to make provision for a future Cameron Station by modifying the Evergreen Line design. The Province is prepared to cover the costs exceeding $3 million including environmental mitigation and any overruns, if Burnaby pays the initial $3 million to modify the project to make provision for this future station," said a ministry spokesperson in an emailed statement.
On Tuesday, Mayor Derek Corrigan said in an interview that it was unclear whether what the city asked for was what the province had agreed to.
"It appeared what the province was saying is you pay the first $3 million and we'll pay anything over that. And that's not what we said. We said no, no, 50-50, up to $3 million."
A city staff report said the Evergreen Line project office had estimated the cost at up to $6 million, with a "significant component" of that to cover "uncertainty over the scope of possible environmental mitigation measures."
Corrigan said they (the ministry) "know it shouldn't be above [$3 million] and if it is, it should be in a minor way."
Council approved the 50-50 funding proposal at Monday's meeting and city staff are checking with the province "to see if that was what they were agreeing to."
If it goes ahead, the city share of the funding would come from gaming revenues.
"It's a real stretch for us," Corrigan said. "It's not something we've been willing to do, is to step in and start funding the regional transportation network. But this was such an important issue to the future development of Lougheed Town Centre that we decided we would try to protect at least the possibility of having a station there."
On Wednesday, a transportation ministry spokesperson said by email, "Government continues to work with City of Burnaby on funding for a future Cameron Station for the Evergreen Line. Details will be available once all discussions are complete."