Open letter to Mayor and Council:
On April 13, you will vote on whether or not to approve moving the transit hub to the 300 block of Victoria Street. The businesses and residents on and around the 300 block implore council to vote against the current designs put forward by BC Transit.
We urge council to allow more time to explore other very viable, creative, and locally crafted options. The council will be making this important decision based on an improper, cursory public consultation, which was conducted back in 2012. Moving the transit hub to Railtown is the most logical alternative to ruining a vibrant commercial and residential block in the heart of downtown.
The benefits of moving the transit hub there include: increased traffic to existing businesses, promoting active transportation through town and up into Rosemont, and advancing proposed development in the area, as it is conceivable that 10 years from now there will be passenger trains landing at Railtown. The Railtown location would not: reduce downtown parking, preclude future commercial development on the 300 block, nor have a significant negative effect on small businesses and residential spaces.
BC Transit, which is the provincial body actually making this decision, states logistical problems as the reason for not advancing the transfer station at Railtown. With proper scheduling, access to Baker Street can be easy and efficient. We urge the council to revisit Railtown as the location for the transfer station.
It feels like the city really wants to push this through in order to take advantage of the grant opportunity. That is not a good enough reason to go forward with a flawed plan that will inevitably cost more money down the road to fix. Turning a vital downtown block, with opportunity for further commercial growth, into a public transit transfer station is equivalent to putting a mall down on the waterfront. Is this what you want your legacy to be?
Justine Langevin, business owner, El Taco, 306 Victoria St.
Dinah Stanley, property owner, 314 Victoria St.
Dee Anne and Brodie Nadeau, property and business owners, Vitality Nelson Health Centre, 205 Victoria St.
Lorri McCready, business owner, Thors Pizzaria, 303 Victoria St.
Robyn Clark and Craig Sully, property and business owners, Kootenay Health Services, 602 Kootenay St.
David Sonnichsen, MD, and Debbie Sonnichsen, property and business owners, Kootenay Medical Centre, 601 Kootenay St.
Korina Langevin, business owner, Redlight Ramen Bar, 308 Herridge Lane