Government officials touted the progress being made to build the $1.4-billion Evergreen Line during an announcement in Port Moody today (January 25).
The B.C. government is expected to select a primary contractor this summer to design and build the SkyTrain link to the Tri-Cities and the line scheduled to be in service by mid-2016.
B.C. transportation minister Blair Lekstrom today announced that two pre-construction contracts have been awarded for the Evergreen Line project.
Langley’s Pedre Contractors will be working in Port Moody and Coquitlam to install underground power lines while Surrey’s Hans Demolition and Excavating will remove three vacant buildings in Burnaby and Coquitlam.
Once completed, the Evergreen Line will be 11 kilometres long and have six stops between Douglas College in Coquitlam and Lougheed Town Centre Station in Burnaby. The federal government, the provincial government, and TransLink are jointly funding the project.
Lekstrom said the long-awaited transportation line will help improve the quality of life for people in Metro Vancouver. He also acknowledged there were doubts about whether the Evergreen Line would ever be built.
“Was this a reality? Was this just talk? I think it was never just talk,” the transportation minister said, referring to the project.
“It was a reality without question but there’s always a challenge when you’re talking about a project of over a billion dollars. There’s a lot of work that has to go into that.”
James Moore, the Conservative MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, spoke about the progress being made on the project.
“Yes, progress is happening. Contracts are being signed, ground is being broken, we are moving forward, and this project is indeed going to happen,” Moore said.
The B.C. Liberals’ political opponents also took notice of today’s announcement, which was held in the Port Moody-Coquitlam provincial riding where a byelection is due.
Joe Trasolini, the riding’s New Democrat candidate and former Port Moody mayor, attended the public event.
“The northeast sector residents have wanted this project. It’s been part of the zoning. It’s been part of the regional growth strategy and I think it’s about time that it’s delivered,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, the riding’s Conservative candidate accused the Liberals of causing delays to the Evergreen Line project.
"This announcement is more photo-op politics from the Liberals. The contractor for actually building the Evergreen Line hasn't been chosen and the line will be finished at least two years later than the Liberals promised," Christine Clarke said in a news release.
Also at the announcement was Iain Black, who resigned last year as Liberal MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam.
Lekstrom, the Liberal transportation minister, rejected the suggestion the announcement’s location had anything to do with the pending byelection.
“We’ve been planning this for some time so it had nothing to do with the byelection,” he told reporters.
The Liberals have scheduled a candidate-nomination meeting in the riding for February 17.