Members of the Chinese community feel they were heard after city councillors recommended staff meet with them about a plan to run the downtown LRT connector line down 102nd Avenue.

"We really appreciate the councillors and the mayor are able to pick that up very quickly and that's why we are so concerned," said Allan Kwan with the Chinese Benevolent Association.

Community representatives worry the low-floor LRT line would split the area in half, separating residents of a Chinese seniors' home from cultural centres across the street.

"If we want to destroy a community that's been here for a hundred years, this is the quickest way to do it," said Sol Rolingher, the lawyer who represented the Chinese community at Wednesday's meeting of the city's transportation and public works committee.

"It's a bamboo wall, and in effect divides a community and once divided, a community will maybe not stand."

Community members worry construction of the line would also lead to the destruction of China Gate located at 97th St. and 102nd Avenue. They are asking the city to look at moving the line one block to 102A Avenue.

"Still keep the corridor but we want to generate alternatives," Kwan said.


This concept drawing shows the proposed LRT connector line going through China Gate. (City of Edmonton )

"They're asking the council for approval for one alternative right? That's why we say, 'Slow down please. Look at other alternatives, look at the trade-offs and then have the right information to make the right decision.'"

Mayor Stephen Mandel said compromises may be needed with the line possibly going underground downtown.

"We can't disrupt people's communities that much and we need to find ways to build something that's going to be a compliment to the community rather than a detriment to the community," Mandel said.

Cost is a factor but it cannot be the only basis for making a decision, Mandel said.

The recommendation from the city's transportation and public works committee will go to city council for debate next week.