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First Nations, UBC, Vancouver launch joint pitch to fund Broadway subway completion

Historic agreement to get SkyTrain all way to UBC
The dream of a SkyTrain to UBC is gaining some momentum with a new partnership between the university, the City of Vancouver and local First Nations. Jordan Armstrong has more on where the three parties will be taking their pitch for securing funding for the almost $4-billion project.

Three Lower Mainland First Nations, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the City of Vancouver have signed an agreement to work together in seeking funding for a subway to UBC.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the city, the university and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations commits to working collaboratively to get funding from the federal, provincial and Metro Vancouver governments.

READ MORE: Mayors’ council approves SkyTrain to UBC, subway bid process unveiled

“The public expects us to get the Broadway subway all the way to UBC, but right now, we don’t have the funding in place. We need to act quickly to secure this funding, and that’s why we’ve signed this historic MOU,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

“We’re asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan to commit to this project.”

UBC SkyTrain extension gets support from city and First Nations
UBC SkyTrain extension gets support from city and First Nations

Stewart said he was heading to Ottawa next week, where he would make the city’s pitch for funding.

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Both the City of Vancouver and the TransLink Mayors’ Council voted early last year to back an extension of the subway to UBC.

Currently, the project is only funded from the existing VCC-Clark station to Arbutus Street at an estimated cost of $2.83 billion.

Extending the project the remaining distance to the university is projected to cost between $3 billion and $4 billion more.

READ MORE: UBC wants in on the Broadway subway, but TransLink says it’s a no-go

Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh are partners in the MST development corporation, which owns and plans to develop the so-called Jericho Lands that would be near a future subway extension.

“When we are able to work together we are able to create that shared mutual benefit for our communities and for future generations that are going to receive that benefit as a result of us working together,” said Squamish Coun. Khelsilem.

Vancouver Green councillor calls for rezoning freeze along UBC subway/SkyTrain corridor
Vancouver Green councillor calls for rezoning freeze along UBC subway/SkyTrain corridor

UBC has previously offered to help fund the extension. On Wednesday president Santa Ono said providing rapid transit was key to the future of the institution, which is also home to more than 24,000 residents.

“SkyTrain will foster strong linkages to UBC that go far beyond moving students, faculty and staff back and forth,” said Ono.

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“This line will link some of the strongest and most important education institutional here in Vancouver. An efficient, affordable, sustainable, interconnected rapid transit network that includes a full extension to UBC can be a great enabler on all of these fronts.”

READ MORE: Locations for 6 Broadway Subway stations unveiled by provincial government

In September, the province unveiled the location of the six funded subway stops: Great Northern Way, Mount Pleasant, Broadway-City Hall, Fairview-VGH, South Granville and Arbutus.

A bus loop will be built at the corner of Broadway and Arbutus Street to accommodate students and passengers heading west from the terminus.

Construction on the subway is slated to begin early this year, with a projected launch date for the line in 2025.