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Mayor makes case for rapid transit expansion in city

 

The Canada Line is proving to be a boon to Richmond, with a $4-billion-dollar development bonanza riding the rapid transit corridor through its city centre.

 

Mayor Malcolm Brodie delivered a strong argument in favour of rapid transit at a gathering of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce this week, showing dozens of developments under construction or in the planning stage around the four current Canada Line stations.

 

“That $4-billion [figure] is being conservative,” Brodie told The Province on Wednesday.

 

“The Canada Line has enabled us to implement our vision to have growth and house the growth in our city centre.

 

“We’re seeing densification all around the Canada Line.”

 

The city planners have allowed greater density closer to the stations.

 

One revolutionary way to create density will see condo developers pay for the Capstan Station, which wasn’t funded when the original Canada Line map was drawn.

 

The idea came about through “conversations between the city, the development community and TransLink going back a couple of years,” said Brodie.

 

He said TransLink had negotiated a deal with some developers for the station before the economic downturn of 2008.

 

“[The property developers] were going to fund some of the station and TransLink was going to come up with some money. But because of the 2008 financial meltdown, that whole set of transactions fell apart,” said Brodie.

 

“TransLink stepped out and said, ‘You guys are on your own.’”

 

When the condo construction in the area is finished in a few years, there will be 6,600 units of housing in Capstan Village, said Brodie.

 

As the first 3,300 units are sold, $7,800 out of each condo sale will go toward a fund to build Capstan Station — between the current Bridgeport and Aberdeen stations — at a cost of $25 million.

 

Where the other $25 million goes is up for discussion.

 

Brodie sits on TransLink’s mayors’ council, which gives him a limited say in the transit authority’s business plans.

 

But the Capstan formula is something for other municipalities slated for rapid transit expansion to look at.

 

“The idea that there would be alternative financing plans or proposals has always been a subject of discussion,” said Brodie.

 

“Various arrangements have been suggested.”

 

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