Community notices

Burnaby gives green light to gondola to SFU

January 28, 2022

A proposed gondola for Burnaby Mountain moved closer to reality as Burnaby City Council voted to advance the project.  

On Monday afternoon, Council voted in favour of a straight-line route from Production Way-University Station to SFU’s Burnaby campus with a terminal near the upper bus loop. The alignment is TransLink’s preferred option and aims to increase ridership with reliable and frequent transit and reduce emissions while offering greater winter safety than the existing bus service.  

“This is tremendous news for SFU and for commuters across the Lower Mainland,” says SFU President Joy Johnson. “As university president, I want to thank Mayor Hurley and Burnaby City Council for their foresight and vision in moving forward with the Burnaby Mountain Gondola.  

“I especially want to thank all the people who spoke out, wrote letters and voiced their support for the gondola, including our students, faculty and staff, and members of the UniverCity community. Special thanks to past and present executives from the Simon Fraser Student Society, the SFU Graduate Student Society, employee, faculty and labour groups, the Alumni Association, Build the SFU Gondola Now, and all of the signatories on the open letter in support. Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate this fantastic decision today.”

The straight-line route from Production Way-University Station offers the highest benefits and lowest capital and operating costs, according to TransLink’s analysis. Compared to two other possible alignments, it also had the smallest footprint, the best geotechnical conditions and the fewest environmental impacts. It will result in shorter travel times, more frequent trips, increased ridership, reduced noise and emissions and greater winter reliability, according to recent studies.  

“The Simon Fraser Student Society is excited to hear the news of the Burnaby Mountain Gondola project being endorsed,” says Matthew Provost, vice president external relations for the Simon Fraser Student Society. “After a decade of advocacy from the student body we are able to celebrate and look forward to the positive impacts this will have for students, the SFU Community and Burnaby as a whole.”

The gondola is in TransLink’s Transport 2050 plan.  With the approval from Burnaby Council, the gondola proposal will now be considered for inclusion in the Mayors’ Council next 10-year vision.    

The need for the gondola was included as a planning project in the 2014 TransLink Mayors’ Council 10-year transportation vision. SFU is the largest travel destination in Burnaby that is not on a SkyTrain line, with 25,000 trips made daily by SFU students, staff, faculty, visitors and residents of UniverCity. Six of the top 10 busiest bus stops in Burnaby service SFU.

“Today’s decision is a win for the environment and for any student, faculty, staff, resident, or visitor to SFU, who has watched a crowded bus pass them by, or who have ever wondered how they might get home during a winter storm,” says Joanne Curry, SFU’s vice-president, external relations.  

“We are grateful to TransLink and the City of Burnaby for all their hard work, helping to make the Burnaby Mountain Gondola a reality and to give students a lift.”