Residents in Port Moody were likely aware major changes were on the way with the building of the Evergreen Line, but one neighbourhood is finding out just how different things will be when the line starts running.
Several dozen residents from the Klahanie neighbourhood were at city council Tuesday to express their anger and opposition over plans to elevate part of the Evergreen Line in the city centre.
At the centre of the concern is Evergreen Line officials’ plan to elevate the line over the CPR tracks, starting west of Murray Street and lowering back down at the Inlet station.
The guideway will be 650 metres (2,130 feet) long and nine metres (30 feet) high, not including the height of a train on the tracks.
The portion of the line, which crosses Pigeon and Suterbrook creeks, is be being raised to cross the CPR tracks.
But Klahanie resident Gil Biderman argued the elevated line is going to ruin the privacy and landscape of the neighbourhood.
“We are upset,” he told council, noting with a train on the tracks, the height of the line could be 15 metres (50 feet).
He also suggested Evergreen Line officials haven’t been completely truthful about the plans.
Jen Dolsen, another Klahanie resident, said residents feel duped by the Evergreen Line people, suggesting most residents only learned about the plan in the last month.
She urged council to advocate on the residents’ behalf to find a solution.
“We want your [council] support because we feel like we’ve been screwed,” Dolsen said.
“We want to know you’ve got our back with this.”
She said she knew the line would be noisy when she moved to the neighbourhood, but suggested residents have been misled.
A meeting has been set up for Wednesday, Nov. 13 between Klahanie residents and Evergreen Line officials.
Mayor Mike Clay was frank in his response to residents, noting the city can work with the Evergreen Line, but ultimately has no jurisdiction to make changes.
“It’s [Evergreen Line] tearing the community apart, and we get that,” he said, adding he never wanted the line to go through Moody Centre in the first place.
But he also argued Evergreen Line officials have been fairly consistent in saying the line will have to be raised to cross the train tracks, adding there have been several open houses over the years regarding the design of the line.
Coun. Rick Glumac made a notice of motion that the city ask the Evergreen project to commit to noise and visual mitigation in the area where the line is elevated and to work with the city to make sure the measures are to the satisfaction of residents.
He said he is hopeful Evergreen Line officials will work with residents to “do the right thing,” adding it’s also an opportunity for them to show they can do mitigation to satisfy residents.
Amanda Farrell, the Evergreen Line’s project director, told the Tri-Cities NOW on Thursday the elevated guideway has been in the plans since 2009.
She said a minor change was made to raise the elevation to nine metres from eight metres.
The changes were made out of security concerns from KoKo’s Activity Centre on St Johns Street.
Farrell did note the Evergreen Line group is working on details of landscaping and noise mitigation that officials expect to present at the Nov. 13 meeting.
“Large and complex projects do have impacts and we are committed to working with residents and communities to address, in this case, visual and noise concerns,” she said, adding Evergreen officials have held 40 meetings with community groups, residents and businesses in Port Moody since 2009.
But when asked if changes could still be made to the construction design, Farrell indicated that would not be possible.
“It’s too late for us to change the alignment itself,” she said.
“However, there are things we can do to address visual and noise concerns.”
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