Cambie merchants celebrate end of construction
After three years of Canada Line construction, Cambie Street is finally open to traffic and pedestrians. To mark the occasion, the big retailers in the area threw a street party on Saturday. But not everyone is celebrating.
For merchants on Cambie Street, it's a day that marks the end of an agonizing wait.
The roadwork is done and entire length of Cambie is open again to traffic and pedestrians for the first time since Canada Line construction began nearly four years ago.
Big box retailers joined in the celebration with a street party. But some small businesses had no time to reflect on the re-opening.
Business at Grace Ng's restaurant was decimated by the decision to build the Canada Line rapid transit system using the cut and cover method.
"Maybe the bad time is over, but we wish to pick up more business after everything is done,'' she said.
That's why the owner of a bookstore on West Broadway is worried about a plan to build a new rapid transit system to the University of British Columbia along Broadway. James Mullin would rather see more buses than have Broadway torn up like Cambie was.
"My concern would be that if they put in some form of transit line they would do so in a similarly invasive way that would destroy retail businesses and damage other businesses,'' Mullin said.
The B.C. government's 2008 transit plan calls for a new rapid transit system to UBC along the Broadway corridor at a cost of $3 billion.
Translink has hired a consultant from Britain to come up a report on the various options for the UBC route. It's due in September.
"No matter what you build, there will be some disruption during the construction,'' said Translink spokesman Ken Hardie. He said Translink is looking for the sweet spot, the thing that does the best possible job at the lowest possible price.
But after three years of chaos on Cambie, some merchants say the hardest thing for Translink to build will be trust.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Jina You