The proposed overbuilt Massey Bridge is becoming a sobering topic for many people as they read through the background studies which never seriously looked at any other option other than an over capacity ten lane bridge. The rationale for this massive bridge, pegged at a cost in the 3.4 billion dollar range changes with the season.Once this behemoth is built, it remains to be seen how much use it will get. It will also be tolled, which will increase traffic onto other bridges. But other than the truckers at Deltaport who do not work efficiently 24 hours 7 days a week on schedule like every other port in North America there is little rationale for why a massive bridge needs to be located here instead of simply twinning the currently configured tunnel. Perhaps it is for access to pump up volumes at the sparsely used Tsawwassen Mills mall, built on the finest agricultural land in Canada and impacting the sensitive Pacific migratory bird flyway.
Jeremy Nuttall in the Tyee reports that “According to news reports, the province is backing the bridge because Port Metro Vancouver, a federal government authority, and Fraser Surrey Docks lobbied the province to get rid of the tunnel. With the tunnel gone, it will be possible to dredge the south arm of the Fraser and bring bigger ships to upstream ports.”
Such dredging will severely impact salmon stocks. The Cohen Commission examining the fish stocks and ecological impacts on the Fraser River concluded that the Department of Forests and Oceans needed to examine the cumulative impacts of industrialization on Fraser River sockeye habitat. As projects get approved on a project by project basis, there is no comprehensive evaluation on the damage being done to existing resources.
City of Richmond councillor Harold Steves has also said that Port Metro Vancouver will be turning 100 hectares of farmland in Richmond into port supported industrial use, something they can do without municipal approval as a federal body. Even though a federal environmental review was requested, there has been no response from Ottawa.
And there you have it. Federal “spokesperson Michelle Imbeau said the department is responsible for reviewing the “proposed works” but said has not yet done so. She noted the provincial government had conducted its own review and approved the project.”
Which is as much to say the Federal Government is letting the Province decide. And the Province is looking at no other alternatives ecologically, financially or practically other than this expensive and ecologically disruptive megaproject. It is the classic case of passing the buck.