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Powell River Town Centre repositioning transit hub to west side

“The community will be quite surprised with what this will look like at the end of the day.” ~ Lorelei Guthrie, mall manager

Powell River Town Centre mall’s new bus exchange is under construction and is designed to streamline transit services into the expanding shopping centre.

Lorelei Guthrie, Powell River Town Centre manager, said the new bus facility is being relocated from the north side of mall, where the BC Liquor outlet is located, to the west side of the building.

“It’s more central to the property so that will be a benefit to riders,” said Guthrie. “We are building now as we speak and construction is due to be finished June 24. We have taken out some customer parking stalls while we build this. New parking stalls will be introduced when this is finished.”

Guthrie said the new bus station will not affect BC Transit bus schedules.

“They looked at this backwards and forwards with their timings,” said Guthrie. “They determined it had no real impact on their schedules, so that really worked in their favour.”

All Powell River Regional Transit System buses and qathet Regional District paratransit buses make use of the mall. Guthrie said she believes that in total, eight buses frequent the bus exchange. Up to four buses will be accommodated at any one time in the new facility.

For bus passengers, part of the design at the station will be a platform, where those seeking a ride can conveniently queue while waiting.

“There will be bench seating out there for the riders’ convenience if they need to sit,” said Guthrie. “BC Transit is taking it upon themselves to build shelters, and hopefully, they will be in the 2025 budget. It’s under their mandate.”

Planning for the new bus location has been ongoing for the last 14 or 15 months, and has involved discussions with the mall’s owners, BC Transit, plus City of Powell River and regional district transit departments. Guthrie said there has been extensive dialogue in planning the expansion. She added that the mall has received concerns from the public regarding the new bus facility.

“I appreciate the frustration and I understand it,” said Guthrie. “I’m just asking for patience. We have three more weeks of construction and we will be able to build this new platform and get some parking stalls.”

Guthrie said that while there will be fewer parking spots on the west side of the mall as a result of the transit infrastructure, there are several other entrances. She said there are five other access points where people can park close to the entrances and gain access into the mall.

If people have concerns or questions about the new bus station, Guthrie said they can contact her at the mall office.

“I’m happy to have dialogue with them,” she added.

Drawing attention

Guthrie said the attraction of new mall tenant Winners coming to the community is important, and having a functional bus exchange is vital.

“What locating Winners here is allowing us to do is leverage with other national retailers,” said Guthrie. “Retailers are looking at Powell River as a place to get into business.

“It’s going to bring more retailers to Powell River and I know that our customers have been asking for this. If we can, perhaps we could have a shoe offering or another women’s clothing store, and a doctor’s office would be ideal in town.

“There is no limit to what we can attract. The community will be quite surprised with what this will look like at the end of the day.”

Guthrie said with the mall bringing in new retailers, it’s important for local consumers to support them.

BC Transit is aware of some challenges faced by customers with regards to the relocation of the bus exchange, according to a release from the provincial crown corporation.

Typically, all decisions around bus stops, exchanges and related infrastructure are made by BC Transit’s local government partners throughout the province, the release stated. However, as the exchange is situated on private land, the new location of the exchange was determined by the landowners.

Once completed, this new exchange location will provide a more conducive, safe and comfortable exchange for riders in the Powell River Regional Transit System, the release stated. The bus bay design will also allow for better movement of buses in the area and the exchange will be conveniently located across from the mall entrance and its many amenities, according to the release.

“The Town Centre mall is the key exchange that connects every route in both the Powell River conventional and the rural paratransit, and facilitates the transfer of passengers from one route to the next,” the release stated. “BC Transit will continue to work with the City of Powell River and the landowner to ensure the needs of our customers are still being met.”

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