The lack of Provincial response to the concerns of adjacent municipalities and mayors to the impending Massey Bridge mega-billion dollar construction project is truly the sound of one hand clapping. The Province is sure that the bridge is good for the Port and its own concepts of  twentieth century commercial trucking and traffic, and nothing is swaying their determination to foist this behemoth upon us.

The Richmond News  and Graeme Wood reports that the Mayor of Richmond, Malcolm Brodie was “disappointed yet unsurprised that the provincial government issued environmental approval for the 10-lane, $3.5 billion bridge. The concerns raised by Richmond about this project have continually been ignored throughout the public consultation and environmental assessment processes.”  The Federal Government, who could have also done a Federal review, has refused to do so, saying it is outside their mandate. However, as Councillor Harold Steeves notes, a similar Federal review was done for the Port Mann Bridge. So why the change?

And why does the Massey Tunnel need to be removed? Could this not be used for mass transit or a bicycle link? But no, “according to Geoff Freer, executive project director of the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, the four-lane tunnel cannot be left beneath the river because it poses a risk to dyke stability during an earthquake. However, the City of Richmond is not aware of any special risks to the dykes associated with the tunnel.”

Of course if the tunnel is removed it allows for bigger ships to  go up and down the Fraser River’s south arm, increasing industrialization of farmland. And here is the weird part-“The provincial environmental assessment certificate issued Thursday calls for the tunnel to be filled in beneath the dyke and the four connecting tubes to be dug up from below the river bed.”

There is a Metro Vancouver water line that is pesky and in the way. That will need to be moved to allow for deeper dredging for big ships. What’s interesting is the certificate does not  “assess the implications of such dredging, as tunnel decommissioning would not directly change the size of vessels using the river; the certificate only addresses the footprint of the bridge.”

If you are not already confused, Mayor Brodie has stated that since the bridge’s towers are on land (Provincial jurisdiction) and do not directly impact the river, the federal government will not be involved. Never mind the fact that the removal of the tunnels will cause massive river bed disturbance. And Minister of Transportation Todd Stone is calling the ten lane Massey Bridge a “green bridge” now because it is reducing idling. 

The bridge is counter to a regional transportation plan supported by all the region’s mayors except for Delta’s mayor who supports the bridge in her jurisdiction. Mayor Brodie is supportive of a cheaper tunnel alternative, and also brings up the fact this bridge complicates regional road pricing. You can be sure this bridge will be tolled. The tolling fee is not announced, but will be higher than the Port Mann bridge because “The bridge’s initial cost is higher than the Port Mann Bridge and traffic projections show it will see less traffic.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.