Interurban preservation society to host first meeting

A group hoping to save the remains of the old interurban railway line that runs between Sapperton in New Westminster and Cariboo Road in Burnaby is inviting people to its first meeting on July 23.

The Old Interurban Forest Preservation Society was founded by New Westminster resident Rod Drown, who uncovered the rail bed of the interurban line that ran from 1911 to 1953.

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Drown’s vision is to preserve the trail and surrounding forest and add a paved bike route between the two communities, but the first step is getting organized.

"It's a shorter and more direct route and not as steep," he said in a previous interview. "The maximum elevation of the old interurban route is 56 metres, while the maximum elevation of the present route, which goes up Cariboo Road and over the top of the hill between Burnaby and New Westminster, is 119 metres."

While the society awaits official designation from the province, Drown and a group of supporters are hosting the inaugural meeting to discuss the proposal the group plans on presenting to Burnaby city council later this year. 

There will also be guest speakers, including representatives from the Burnaby and New Westminster chapters of HUB and Henry Ewert, a historian who has written three books on the old interurban rail line. Anyone interested in preserving the interurban trail and forest is invited to attend. Coffee and cake will be served. The meeting is on Thursday, July 23 at 7 p.m. in the community meeting room at the Cariboo Heights Housing Co-op, 7251 Cariboo Rd. For more information on the society and its proposal, find them on Facebook by searching “The Old Interurban Forest Preservation Society.”

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