City council responded to concerns from downtown businesses, and redefined its BC Transit exchange location in downtown Trail at a Nov. 8 Governance and Operations Committee (GOC) meeting.
Coun. Colleen Jones raised concerns advanced by downtown business owners, who are opposed to the possible relocation of the downtown transit exchange to the 1200 block of Cedar Avenue.
Coun. Sandy Santori questioned city staff on why B.C. Transit would engage in public consultation on two locations, when settling on one would expedite the process.
“If the majority of council does not want Option 2 in any way, shape or form, then why are they (BC Transit) consulting on an option council doesn’t support?” asked Santori.
“Why would we want to create angst amongst the community of business owners, which in all likelihood we aren’t going to approve anyway.”
Trail’s Deputy Corporate Administrator Sandy Lucchini clarified that council had directed BC Transit go to public consultation with the two exchange options at an Oct. 12 GOC meeting, which Transit BC was preparing to undertake.
“That was council’s direction, so if your direction is different you need to say so,” advised Lucchini.
In its report, BC transit had favoured Option 2, which would run along the west side of Cedar Ave. onto Eldorado St. behind Ferraro Foods and in front of the Pharmasave.
However, council preferred the third option: to make improvements to the current location at Cedar Avenue and Helena Street by Selkirk College.
Mayor Lisa Pasin suggested council ask staff for clarity on whether public consultation is mandatory.
“We don’t want to lose the exchange,” said Coun. Robert Cacchioni. “So the other option, down there by the Colander, is perfectly fine with me and I think that’s an opportunity to clean up that part of town.
“I don’t think that the particular option that BC Transit picked is a good option. There’s so much traffic in there, so many cars going back and forth, it’s unbelievable.”
Coun. Jones and Mayor Pasin recused themselves from the meeting due to conflict of interest.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and BC Transit took advantage of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, where the federal and provincial governments split 80 per cent of the costs to improve transit infrastructure.
The new exchange is designed to improve the space needed for buses, enhance passenger amenities such as shelters, benches, bike racks and landscaping, and the possible inclusion of public washrooms, which were not covered by the program.
BC Transit projects the costs for Option 3 to come in at $1M or $1.2M with a washroom, less than Option 2, which is estimated at $1.3M and $1.5M.
Council unanimously passed the motion that staff be directed to advise BC Transit that council wishes to remove Option 2 as a possible location for the new and expanded transit exchange in the downtown and that it not form part of the public consultation process.