In the “you just can’t make this stuff up” department, City of Delta council has authorized a payment of $40,000 for Delta Mayor Lois Jackson and select staff to spend four days in Ottawa, followed by three days at a conference in Quebec City.
They’ll have just missed the National Capital’s Tulip Festival, but they’ll be there to demand, among other things, that the federal government just get on with building the Massey Bridge — Delta tax dollars hard at work.
Never mind that there is no funding in the provincial budget for this ten-lane, overbuilt and over-thought span, which would effectively seal the industrialization of this part of the Fraser River.
As the Vancouver Courier covered, picking up directly from the City of Delta’s staff report, “Previous delegations to Ottawa have been very successful in raising the profile of issues impacting Delta, and generating interest inside federal offices where the decision-making and financial prioritizing takes place. It has become apparent from previous trips that staff and politicians in Ottawa are often unaware of issues in British Columbia and that face-to-face meetings are an effective way to showcase local issues and concerns.”
That’s right. According to Delta’s staff report, politicians in Ottawa are often unaware of issues in the Province of British Columbia. With the proposed Massey Bridge, 20 of the 21 mayors in the region oppose the project because it further threatens the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), increases sprawl and car dependence, and runs contrary to the objectives for regional growth.
The one mayor that wants this overbuilt bridge in this location? The mayor of Delta.
The Delta delegation will tell Ottawa that building the bridge is in the “national interest” for goods movement. There’s still no mention that Port Metro Vancouver is the only port in North America that does not operate 24 hours a day to support planned delivery throughout the day. Of course, limiting truck traffic through the Massey Tunnel at peak hours would also be a smart thing to do, but that’s not on the table either.
In the interim, the province is funding the Pattullo Bridge replacement and waiting for the completion of a report commissioned by them on future options for the crossing. Unbelievably, Delta continues to request their bridge and, Walmart-style, is saying there’s been a price roll-back; it’s now in the $2.6 billion ballpark, rather than the original $3.5 billion, which was estimated before carrying costs.
At this point, no response from the province.
You can take a look at the Council report for the $40,000 Ottawa/Quebec City junket here.