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Port Moody residents up in arms over Evergreen Line height
The height of the new Evergreen Line through Port Moody is raising concerns from residents of one housing complex.
Several dozen residents of Klahanie filed into Port Moody council chambers Tuesday night to voice concerns with what they say are recent changes to plans for the line that will extend the SkyTrain rapid transit to Coquitlam Centre. But officials with the Evergreen Line say any changes to the plans have been on the books for the past two years.
"We feel really duped by the Evergreen people," said Klahanie resident Jen Dolson, who contends they had been told that the line would run at grade along the stretch through Moody Centre but have since been informed that the track could be as high as 15 metres. "There are 1,000 residents in Klahanie who just found out about this a month ago."
But Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay said the plans have always called for the line to be elevated in that area and the concerns only surfaced when trees began being cut down to accommodate the project.
"Many of these people have said we were never told this line was going elevated. Well, yeah you were. There were several open houses in this building in 2009 where this was on display showing it," he said.
Clay also took exception with the 15-metre figure, saying the line would only be nine metres off the ground but the height would climb to 15 metres when the height of the track and train are taken into account.
"It's tearing the community apart and we get that," Clay said, pointing out that he was the only member of council at the time to oppose the project.
"It's bad technology ripping through Moody Centre, which isn't a neighborhood that can accommodate it."
The mayor doesn't see the height of the line being a problem, saying he believes the SkyTrain route should be elevated all the way through the community.
"Wait until you see all the fences and barb wire that has to go up to keep people out of the guideways," he said.
The residents are asking council to work with them to encourage officials with the Evergreen Line to minimize the impact.
"We live in a beautiful community that is now going to be ghettoized with this train going above," said Jennifer Huber.
Amanda Farrell, executive project director for the Evergreen Line, said the plans have always called for an elevated section, something necessary to go over the CPR tracks.
"In terms of the elevation, we did make a change to the elevation itself in 2011 when we moved it from 8 m to 9 m clearance," she said "It was changed to move it a little bit higher so it is higher than the Koko's building so people can't get down to the guideway."
Farrell said the elevation wasn't changed to benefit any business but was necessary to create a separation "so people can't throw things onto the guideway, for example, or jump onto the tracks."
A meeting has been set for Nov. 13 between officials with the city, Evergreen Line and Klahanie residents.
Coun. Rick Glumac brought forward a notice of motion that would see the city request Evergreen Line commit to visual noise mitigation in the area where the line is elevated. A lack of a seconder prevented the motion from being debated Tuesday and it will come back before council at the next meeting Nov. 12.
"I do think time is of the essence. They're working in that area right now and this is the time to have a conversation about it. Also, if trees are to be planted the sooner we get those trees into the ground the better so they will have time to grow," said Glumac, who is also a Klahanie resident.
"It is a unique perspective but honestly if any group of residents came to a council meeting and expressed the concern that they did around this I would be feeling exactly the same way. "
Farrell said they want to work with the residents to address the visual and noise impacts through landscaping and other measures.