(Dale Klippenstein photo)

Aldergrove envisions what the Valley could look like through UBC students’ blueprints

‘Why hasn’t this already happened?’: Interurban rail meeting pushes for transit past 276 Street

Dozens gathered for the Rally For Rail meeting held Tuesday night at the Aldergrove Kinsmen Centre by former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm, former Langley Township mayor Rick Green, and campaign organizer Brit Gardner.

The South Fraser Community Rail group propose a hydrogen-powered passenger train to revitalize the 90-plus-kilometre rail line between Surrey and Chilliwack.

TransLink announced Friday that such service would come at a higher cost than an eastbound extension of the proposed SkyTrain and that it would miss key destinations including Surrey Central and Langley City.

The public meeting was in direct opposition to that statement, as Green asserts TransLink’s recent actions are “appalling,” and their report used “outdated flawed studies” to announce their opposition to the project.

RELATED: Service on Interurban rail would be expensive, miss key destinations: Translink

“A lot of people are asking the question – why hasn’t this already happened?” Green told the Aldergrove Star. 

The former politician claims that within five years, if the Interurban corridor is not activated by the use hydrogen-powered passenger trains, that TransLink will be “financially bankrupt” in transportation resources.

“That $8.67 billion [allotted for transportation] will start to dry up,” Green claimed.

A series of images designed by 17 UBC urban design masters students, served as the night’s “blueprint for what the Valley could look like,” said Gardner.

Gardner, an Abbotsford resident, said “one of the reasons given for rejecting this proposal in the past was that we have too much farmland and not enough people in the towns to support it. I am pleased that Professor Condon and UBC chose to offer us a definitive blueprint for how the revival of the line – that built the communities along it – can revitalize our communities and sustain another 400,000 people and as many jobs.”

READ MORE: Former Langley Mayor pushes plan for hydrogran trains on Interurban line

Jieshun Teoh, a UBC student, led local attendees through the metrics of the classes three-month research project (January to April) citing that current transportation measures are “Vancouver-centric,” when “70 per cent of trips end south of the Valley.”

“TransLink is still trying to confine themselves to 276th Street being the line [they] do not cross,” Green added.

Mixed reactions resulted from residents in attendance – one detractor stood up and made statements claiming the group’s posters depicting congestion on Highway One were doctored.

In three of the photos used, the resident alleges the same bus is seen in opposite directions.

“It’s just a joke to what’s actually going on in that freeway,” he said.

A number of political candidates and elected representatives were also in the audience, including Township Councillor Bob Long, a self-proclaimed “railway fanatic.”

Long attended the meeting and suggested the Township, as well as TransLink, “consider using every transportation system available to us.”

READ MORE: Translink’s opposition to Interurban rail service laughable: Letter

Langley resident Jonathon Penner was made a believer on Tuesday night.

“This idea would decrease emissions, increase access to thousands of jobs, create far greater opportunities for affordable housing, provide a unified transportation solution across the entire South Fraser region, and could be completed a fraction of the time and cost,” Penner said.

The greatest barrier Penner saw is the “status quo.”

“For this idea to fly, it will need strong public support and passion,” he elaborated.

Another Aldergrove resident, Shane Dyson – a former NDP candidate – asked the question about if locals might be able to incorporate the rail line into political discourse and make it a federal election issue.

An online petition in support of the Interurban Railway has recently been circulating, and has already amassed half of its 1,000-signature goal.

It calls for the province and Premier John Horgan to launch a task force to follow-through with the project.

The next and final Rally For Rail public engagement meeting will be held in Abbotsford, at the UFV campus at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25.

The South Fraser Community Rail group can be found online at southfrasercommunityrail.ca and also facebook.com/connectthevalley.

 

(Dale Klippenstein photo)

(Dale Klippenstein photo)

(Dale Klippenstein photo)

(Dale Klippenstein photo)

Just Posted

Walnut Grove Gators move up at basketball tourney

The Gators won their first game Thursday

VIDEO: A gift of recovery offered by Langley Celebrity Christmas Toy and Food Drive

Six-week stay in Thai rehab facility would normally cost more than $30,000 Canadian

LETTER: Langley Township still not on fibre optic

Local resident critical of Township decision not to have to this much faster internet connection.

Let’s Play BC hosted a games night for younger children to encourage physical fitness

Let’s Play BC and local wheelchair sports boosters are helping kids in… Continue reading

VIDEO: These are the top toys this Christmas, Langley toy experts say

Consider the play value of a game, staff at Toy Traders say

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Planning price tag for futuristic ‘We Town’ concept in Abbotsford revealed

Developer says highrises would house 30,000, but Abbotsford mayor says project is in wrong place

Man accused of child sex crimes out on bail: Delta police

Gurchetan Singh Samra, 69, must stay away from — and not communicate with — anyone under 16 years old

1,300-signature petition for free menstrual products turned over to UFV president

‘Go with the flow’ campaign calls for all University of the Fraser Valley bathrooms to be stocked

Most Read