Monday, June 9, 2014

The Massey Tunnel

On the same theme as the last blog entry, this letter was sent to the board of Metro Vancouver. Metro is concerned with Regional Planning and at first blush Mayor Jackson of Delta was the only Mayor in favour of the bridge.
I was interested to read that Mayor Louis Jackson was actively courting the Provincial Government for THE BRIDGE last week. And, that the Provincial Government is actively pursuing the construction design phase.

Mayor Jackson is, I believe, the only mayor in Metro Vancouver who supports this BRIDGE and the dismantling of the Massey Tunnel. And yet, the Provincial Government will have us believe that this is the option that is not only the best option, it is the popular one. That is to say that the bridge is the choice that came from public input.

What has been lost in this debate is the fact that Port Metro Vancouver wants the tunnel dismantled so that bigger ships can be handled and port capacity can increase. Until this topic was raised, the dismantling of the Massey tunnel was not an option.

So why is it that British Columbia taxpayers and Metro residents (through road taxes yet to be determined) are going to be paying for Port Metro’s desire to have the tunnel removed? Port Metro is under Federal jurisdiction. It seems that they are pushing our Provincial Government into a decision that is not the choice for Metro Vancouver. We only need to look at the traffic patterns and the growth in traffic at the border, the port, and the region to see that this is also a very questionable choice for placement of a bridge. It does little to redirect traffic away from the Richmond/Vancouver corridor nor does it really allow for traffic growth to circumvent Vancouver.

This all begs the question, why are we paying for this need of Port Metro to have the tunnel removed? And, more importantly why are we even considering this alternative? An appropriately placed bridge and maintaining the tunnel would solve all of those issues. And do it in an economically feasible way. To suggest that THE BRIDGE is the only way to handle the public transportation requirements is just irresponsible.

Port Metro’s desire to increase shipping traffic is a separate issue that needs to be addressed by the Federal Government. The cost for this and the affect on Regional Infrastructure needs to be accounted for. Mayor Jackson has the untenable position of supporting THE BRIDGE option. Neither the Federal Government nor Port Metro have suggested that they would pay for any of the costs while being the only ones that would benefit. From a planning perspective this choice is just plain wrong! We need to put pressure on Metro Vancouver and the Provincial Government to change direction on this issue. If we are going to pay for a bridge let it be the right choice in the right location. And let it be a choice that will enhance our regional planning.

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