In the recent Delta Optimist, Doug Massey, son of George Massey has taken a look at the recent report by the Corporation of Delta describing safety concerns and fire/ambulance response in the tunnel. And Mr. Massey responds “It’s all a plan in order to make it (tunnel) distasteful for the public and favourable towards a bridge. Politics by the province is behind the latest report by Delta on the George Massey Tunnel.”
As the son of George Massey who had the idea to construct the tunnel five decades ago, Doug Massey has been unwavering in responding to the continually changing and sometimes quite diverse rationale that the Province champions in their dogged determination that the $3.5 billion dollar Massey bridge is good for us. After Delta’s safety report came out, Transportation Minister Todd Stone commended Delta for the report.
But Doug Massey says not so fast. “They’re playing a game of making the tunnel look bad. Of course it doesn’t have the safety features of a brand new tunnel but a lot of the accidents they’re talking about are not even in the tunnel, they’re on the approaches, and if they had proper warning signs well in advance to keep your headlights on, that would definitely help”.
Doug Massey also points out that there are immediate options to increasing first responder safety and lessening accidents in the tunnel, including restricting large trucks to certain times, and brightening the walls of the tunnel’s interior. He also notes that immersed tunnels are built around the world, with “some of these immersed tunnels (are) 37 metres down and 12 miles long, so, come on, you don’t build these things if they’re not safe. Ours is less than a mile long”.
“There’s a lot of things they could be doing to make it safer, but they’re making it more difficult. It’s just a game and they’re playing with people’s lives by doing it”.
Despite the fact that every other municipality in Metro Vancouver has requested a rethink of this bridge’s size, location, and rationale, the Province is continuing its relentless quest forward. Its been a particularly awkward era in Delta, where cumulative impacts of the proposed port expansion decimating vital flyway habitat, continued industrial development, the loss of agricultural land, and the building of a mega mall have erased arable farmland on the floodplain. Now the building of a massive ten lane bridge will further exacerbate the ecological fragility.
How will these decisions be regarded in fifty years?