Saturday, January 30, 2016

The George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project

This is a letter sent to a number of people that could be essential to the decisions process of this project.

January 27, 2016

The Hourable Amerjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and communities
The Honourable Marc Garneau MP, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, MP Delta
Alice Wong, MP Richmond Center

House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6


Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau
Cabinet Ministers, Government of Canada
Port Metro Vancouver Board of Directors

Re: Infrastructure spending, Real Change, Smart Growth and protection of the Fraser River

In a recent contact with Mr. Garneau about the flawed environmental processes for Port Metro Vancouver undertakings, the following response was received:
Canada Port Authorities must comply with the Canada Marine Act, other laws and regulations, and their individual letters patent.  The Act does not allow the government to direct Port Metro Vancouver; rather, section 20 of the Act makes the Board of Directors responsible for the management of the activities of Port Metro Vancouver.  

I would therefore encourage you to make your views known directly to Port Metro Vancouver at”
Mr. Garneau’s statement appears to contravene the doctrine of “nondelegation” which directs that a branch of government must not authorize another entity to exercise the power or function to which it is constitutionally authorized to exercise itself.  As stated in the guidelines for “Open and Accountable Government” declared by the new Liberal Government on November 27, 2015:

However, Ministers remain accountable to Parliament for the organizations in their portfolio, and are responsible for taking appropriate corrective action to address any problems that may arise, consistent with the Minister’s role with respect to the organization in question. This applies regardless of whether the problem has been brought to the attention of the Minister by the representations of a constituent, or any other source.”
The Port Metro Board is made up largely of Industry Professionals only one of whom is chosen by the communities affected. Eight of the 11 board members are Federal Government appointees, seven of which are chosen in consultation with the Port user advisory committee. As you can see the board is heavily weighted to favour Port activity with really only one member ostensibly concerned with community issues. As such it is easy to see how community input is marginalized.

For years many people including professionals have expressed their views to CEO Robin Sylvester and the Port Authority with little response. A recent comment made by Mr. Sylvester stated that: “As a federal body here at Port Metro Vancouver, we have supremacy.”

There are a number of Infrastructure projects being planned by Port Metro Vancouver. Several of these will be applying for Federal Infrastructure funding, the biggest of which is a bridge across the Fraser River ostensibly planned by the British Columbia Government. The driver for this traffic and transit project appears to be Port Metro Vancouver. Mr. Sylvester has stated for years that he wants to see the existing tunnel moved in order to allow deeper hull vessels to travel up the South Fraser River.
This project is in almost every possible way in direct conflict with the REAL CHANGE directives the Liberal government espouses. It does nothing for public transit, and fails as a ‘green infrastructure’ or ‘social infrastructure’. As such it does nothing to achieve any of the “Smart Growth Communitiesto ensure that growth is fiscally, environmentally and socially responsible. Nor does it recognize the connections between development and quality of life. A number of the Metro Mayors are not supportive of this project probably because:

-          Only bus lanes are added, no transit infrastructure is considered or budgeted
-      More fuel will be consumed accessing this long tall bridge than any tunnel access
            -          A perfectly functional tunnel will be dismantled creating unnecessary waste
            -          $20 Million recently spent on Seismic upgrading for the tunnel will have been wasted
            -          More farmland will be taken over for the additional roadways and access points
            -          Overall roadway infrastructure for the Metro region will not be improved
            -          Urban sprawl will result from this 10 lane bridge putting more traffic on the roads
            -          This urban sprawl will take over some of the best farmland in Canada
            -          This farmland easily supplies a lot of local produce to the nearby Vancouver market

The consultation for this project was minimal and all options presented led to the bridge being the best option. Appropriate (non-political) planning would show that much better solutions are possible. Using the existing tunnel as a base, LESS traffic would be directed towards the existing corridors. All this could be achieved with a much lower budget. This would allow money for actual public transit to the region taking vehicles off the road rather than putting more vehicles on the road.

The plan for the bridge is in almost every possible way in direct conflict with the REAL CHANGE
initiative. It does very little for public transit and fails as 'green infrastructure' or 'social infrastructure'. Neither does the plan fulfill the Port's vision or mission statement: 

"Inspiring support ….from communities locally and across the nation,"

“To lead the growth of Canada's Pacific Gateway in a manner that enhances the well-being of Canadians and inspires national pride”.

Please insure that no Infrastructure funding be allocated to any projects on the Fraser until they meet the goals you have set forth both in Paris and with your REAL CHANGE initiative



 “We will work with the provinces …..creating incentives for investments that lead to cleaner air, healthier communities, and better quality of life for all Canadians.


REAL CHANGE initiatives can protect the Fraser River. It can do this while offering economic opportunities that enhance quality of life through 'Smart Growth' principles.


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