Kamloops students suggest a gondola as 'out there' idea to get people involved in city planning | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops students suggest a gondola as 'out there' idea to get people involved in city planning

FILE PHOTO - Sea to Sky gondola
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Sea to Sky gondola Tara O'Grady

The Thompson Rivers University Students' Union is encouraging people to get involved in community planning by suggesting ideas like a gondola to connect Kamloops neighbourhoods.

The City of Kamloops is creating a new plan for the McGill Corridor, which includes the university, and will be asking for public input, according to the students union.

In an article published on the students union’s website, it encourages students, staff and faculty at TRU to “dream big,” and lists a gondola as a way to connect the corridor to the North Shore.

“This project would fundamentally change our city by creating new transportation corridors between two of the most exciting and rapidly developing parts of Kamloops — the McGill Corridor and the North Shore,” according to the students union.

Leif Douglas, campaigns coordinator with the student union, said the gondola idea isn't meant to be a pitch to the city but a way to generate interest for students, staff and faculty to get involved in the community planning process.

"Our purpose in this is: Come up with what are cool ideas that could make this neighbourhood really interesting," he said. "It was kind of a bit of an out there idea, admittedly, but to (think) how that could affect our city. It's almost like a thought experiment."

Accessing the university from the North Shore often involves taking multiple buses or a commute across a congested Overlanders Bridge.

“Walking or cycling to campus is out of the question for all but the most dedicated commuters,” according to the students union.

Portland built a gondola that connects its waterfront district to the Oregon Health and Science University and in Burnaby, a gondola is being proposed as a way of transportation to Simon Fraser University.  

In the fall, the student union will be asking all faculty, staff and students to provide their input on the McGill Corridor plan. 

A gondola proposal is not in any community or transportation plan currently but city transportation manager Purvez Irani said “it’s an interesting idea.”

For the McGill Corridor there will be a lot of public engagement opportunities so students and the public will be able to propose ideas to the city, he said.

“There’s no cost-benefit analysis done. There’s no real study done that’s out there on this location connecting to the North Shore at the moment, so we’ve got to view the idea, we’ll have to see how it’s feasible in our entire active transportation network and how it would work," Irani said. 

“It’s a good opportunity for people to bring forward what they think about this in the McGill Corridor planning project."
A gondola is not common and not something found in active transportation guidelines, he said.

“I’m really interested in how this could help the active transportation network,” he said, noting a study would first have to be done to determine the feasibility of it.

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