A significant new piece of public transit infrastructure in Vancouver will be entirely privately funded by a real estate developer as a part of a new residential community.
The Onni Group and its partners will provide TransLink with the funds to construct a new SkyTrain Canada Line station at the intersection of 57th Avenue and Cambie Street to serve the redevelopment of Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) Pearson Dogwood lands and the surrounding neighbourhood.
The construction process involves excavating Cambie Street to build a new underground station structure. Given the complex nature of adding a station to an existing busy subway line, impacts to train service are likely.
But the station is likely many years away as detailed planning has yet to be performed and the developer still needs to raise the money, which will be generated by the 3.1-million-square-foot redevelopment.
As many as 2,071 residential units will be constructed on the 25.4-acre Pearson Dogwood site, which is currently occupied by VCH’s medical facilities. Over 1,645 units will be designated as market housing, while the remaining units will be set aside for long-term residential care requiring medical support, supportive housing, family non-market housing, low-income seniors non-market housing, and market rental housing.
The site will also host a new and relocated YMCA facility with community and recreational facilities, such as a fitness centre and swimming pool. Park and green space plans are extensive for the project.
TransLink spokesperson Cheryl Ziola told Vancity Buzz that the 57th Avenue Station is currently only in the discussion stages.
“At the moment, constructing this station is not a priority, but TransLink has offered the land owner and the City that we would be willing to construct the station provided its capital and operating costs are funded by others,” said Ziola.
“Our private sector collaboration includes actively engaging developers who want to build commercial and residential properties near or integrate with TransLink’s rapid transit stations and infrastructure. This provides non-taxation revenue while improving transportation infrastructure and community amenities, funded by developers.”
Four short sections of the Canada Line’s track were engineered and built with shallow grades to allow for the construction of additional stations. Besides 57th Avenue, the other three station locations are located at 33rd Avenue next to Queen Elizabeth Park, Capstan Way in Richmond, and the Vancouver International Airport terminal area.
The 33rd Avenue Station is dependent on future development in the area, particularly on the redevelopment of the old B.C. RCMP headquarters.
A station at Capstan Way has already been secured as part of a deal made between a number of developers in the emerging Capstan Village neighbourhood and the City of Richmond. Construction on the $25 million station is scheduled to begin in 2027.
Vancouver International Airport’s fourth station is tentative on the Airport Authority’s future terminal expansion plans. The station would be constructed approximately 500-metres east of the existing YVR terminus to serve the eastward expansion of the terminal building.
End-to-end travel times of 25 minutes along the Canada Line will not be affected as the trains are capable of operating at higher speeds, but existing travel times between certain stations – such as between Langara-49th Avenue Station and Marine Drive Station – could be compromised. Currently, the train system operates at conservative speeds to maintain frequency schedules.
Real estate developers and property owners have funded SkyTrain stations before. A portion of the $28 million needed to construct Lincoln Station on the Evergreen Line was provided by the owner of Coquitlam Centre Mall and residential developers in the area.
The developers of the Plaza 88 mixed-use complex completed upgrades to New Westminster Station as part of their work to incorporate the station into the complex.
As well, the Fairchild Group supplied the funding needed to construct a direct entrance into Aberdeen Square shopping mall, the expansion of Aberdeen Centre, from the northbound platform. This included the cost of the extra fare gates required for the entrance.