Residents of Sunshine Hills will be getting the chance to tell the city — and TransLink —whether they want a community shuttle service within the quiet North Delta neighbourhood.
On Monday, June 10, Delta council authorized city staff to issue a survey to residents to reaffirm public support for a TransLink-operated shuttle service.
According to a staff report to council, TransLink recently identified potential transit service to Sunshine Hills as a Tier II priority in its Southwest Area Transport Plan. If residents show that they are in favour of the shuttle service, the city will request that the transit authority give the project a higher priority.
In 2005, TransLink had a plan to start a community shuttle service in Sunshine Hills area but the idea was shelved due to opposition from residents.
Later, in the fall of 2011, the city surveyed residents from 72nd Avenue to Kittson Parkway and Westview Drive to Scott Road to see if opinions had changed.
With “a very high response rate” of 30 per cent, according to the report, the survey showed the majority or Sunshine Hills residents supported the service: 62 per cent of respondents were in favour, 34 per cent were opposed, and four per cent were undecided.
On Monday night, councillors Bruce McDonald and Lois Jackson said they remembered the level of opposition as being much higher back in 2011.
“That was the problem, is people were coming up and saying they didn’t want it to happen,” McDonald said. “The ones who were opposed were really rabidly opposed.”
“It was resoundingly opposed, and I believe that’s why TransLink had just taken a hands-off approach to Delta relative to the whole Sunshine Hills area,” Jackson said.
According to the report, common comments from those in favour included that it would be helpful for seniors residing in the area and would ease congestion around schools.
Those opposing the service said they didn’t want Lyon Road to become more congested and that it would be a mistake to run any form of buses through a quiet residential neighbourhood.
During discussions with TransLink following the 2011 survey, Delta was informed that future service would be considered subject to funding availability, according to the report.
Coun. Dylan Kruger voiced his support for having a community shuttle service in Sunshine Hills, saying he hopes that a similar response this time around will be enough to bring the project up with TransLink.
“I mean, if 62 per cent isn’t a strong enough threshold — I see that as a clear mandate, so I hope if we get similar numbers back we will still take that as a mandate to bring this forward, because this is a huge gap in service right now.”
Jackson agreed with Kruger on the need for the shuttle service, and not just in Sunshine Hills.
“I wish we had them in the other part of North Delta as well, but it’s a good start if we can get it,” she said.
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.
Lan expects that the city aims to have the survey out to residents “within the next couple of weeks.”
“We want to get this turned around very quickly,” Lan said.