The City of Delta is asking TransLink to make adding a shuttle bus in Sunshine Hills a high priority after a majority of residents surveyed said they were in favour of such a service.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents surveyed this summer said they were in favour of having a community shuttle bus service through the North Delta neighbourhood. That’s an increase over a previous survey, conducted in 2011, in which only 62 per cent of respondents were in favour of the idea.
“If that’s not a strong mandate I don’t know what is,” Coun. Dylan Kruger said at council on Monday evening (Sept. 9). “I think that’s a very clear message from the community speaking about improving bus transportation, and I’ve spoken to lots of students at Seaquam [Secondary] who would love the opportunity to have the shuttle bus to connect themselves into our main transit routes. So I hope that as we bring this forward to TransLink we urge the importance of moving forward with this plan.”
In 2005, TransLink had a plan to start a community shuttle service in Sunshine Hills area but the idea was put on due to opposition from residents.
Despite a “very high response rate” to the 2011 survey, TransLink informed the city that future service would be considered subject to funding availability.
Last summer, TransLink released it’s Southwest Area Transport Plan, in which the Sunshine Hills community shuttle was identified as a “Tier II priority.” As a result of these latest survey results, the City of Delta is requesting TransLink elevate the priority level of the project.
“I know that TransLink had kind of given up on us for a while in this area, but we’ve had a change of heart, obviously, in the community so I’m excited to hopefully get some improved, or any semblance of service in the Sunshine Hills community,” Kruger said at council.
According to a city staff report, 771 people responded to the latest survey — down from 896 in 2011 — with 71 per cent in favour of having a community shuttle service in Sunshine Hills.
Those in favour commonly cited the the number of residents (especially seniors) for whom walking to the closest transit service is not viable and the need to reduce of congestion in and around schools as reasons they supported the idea.
Those opposed commonly feared that the service might increase their property taxes as well as bring illegal activities to their neighbourhood. Residents opposed to the idea were also hesitant to support the shuttle service without knowing the exact routes the bus would take and believed the service would increase noise, air pollution and traffic congestion.
In June, Delta’s director of engineering, Steven Lan, told the Reporter that the shuttle’s route would be decided by TransLink, but the city would want to see it serve Seaquam Secondary and Cougar Canyon Elementary schools on Lyon Road and connect with existing routes along Scott Road, especially the 319.