From Price Tags commentator Alex Botta:
From Price Tags commentator Alex Botta:
Again south of the Fraser River the editor of the Delta Optimist weighs in on the need for his morning “double double”. And he is not in a mood to be trifled with. In a surprising 4 to 3 vote Delta council defeated an application to “build a Tim Hortons on a vacant lot on Ladner Trunk Road just east of 64th Street.” And the editor states “When you tell people from outside Delta that your town doesn’t have a Tim Hortons, their incredulous response usually includes a query about whether you also lack indoor plumbing. ”
Kudos to Delta Council who didn’t want to build this ode to idling close to single family houses. This Tim Hortons was a functioning “fuel up drive through ” facility with just a hat trick of seats inside so you wouldn’t get comfortable.
The drive through facilities particularly impact small communities with populations of less than 15,000. I’ve seen a similar Tim Hortons drive through in Kensington Prince Edward Island take out the winter social spot of that small community and close out the adjacent tea shop. In Arnprior Ontario there is a 24 hour drive through, but there is also a massive eat in facility that has become the farmers’ late night hangout and a place that teens can gather.
Those fast food places love drive throughs. They make a lot of money for minimal customer service and time, taking your money in one window and passing the french fries out the other. Not only are there huge profit margins, but 65 per cent of McDonalds sales in the USA are through those drive in windows, and now 80 per cent of new McDonalds feature the drive through option. Drive through clientele are regular customers who buy fast food 25 to 30 times a month. As an industry insider posits “Most drive-thru customers are just stopping to fill their gut”. Drive through restaurants pride themselves at dealing with a customer within a specified time frame (normally around 200 seconds) and pride themselves at breaking records by pushing through the most cars served an hour.
There are limited sociability aspects in drive through fast food restaurant and certainly no way these facilities add to community placemaking. They are perhaps the sports car of fast food, whittling down the time needed to deal with pesky customers by not even allowing them to get out of the car.
But back to the defeated Ladner Tim Hortons. The editor of the Optimist misses the fact completely that a drive through mug of motordom does not a community make. His suggestion: “If a 24-hour drive-thru is indeed a deal breaker, perhaps the hours could be reduced or some other modifications made. Something needs to happen because, my dear Delta council members, Ladner needs a Tim Hortons.”
In the “give your head a shake” department The CBC reports that that the Massey Bridge is a done deal. Imagine-the Provincial government has granted an environmental assessment certificate for this multi billion dollar ten lane beast that will eat up the most arable soils in Canada, pile drive in the sensitive Fraser River, and generally create a 20th century heap of motordom and tolled vehicular infrastructure that is in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s overbuilt, and not worth the irreparable environmental damage.
This is one of the decisions that in fifty years will be seen as a major mistake-a multi billion dollar one. But this government is bent on creating access for Delta port trucking, and fast drives for consumers to the Tsawwassen Mills shopping mall-the latter which is as empty as a spent beer can on a Friday night. The demise of this mall will just provide more places for the port to park their cargo trucks, and we can weep at the loss of this major migratory bird flyway, and the short sightedness of paving agricultural lands.
But here’s the Province’s messaging:
“The approval comes with 33 conditions that are legally binding requirements that the Transportation Ministry must meet. The government says the key findings that helped the approval included that no significant adverse effects were likely to occur on fish and fish habitat and that the project would eliminate congestion delays and idling on the route between Richmond and Delta.
The construction will also mean replacing the interchanges of Westminster Highway, Steveston Highway and Highway 17A. The project will require various federal, provincial and local government permits to go ahead and the Environmental Assessment Office will work with other government agencies to ensure conditions are met. Construction of the new bridge is expected to start this year with completion by 2022.”
You’ve seen the end of the region as we know it.
As the Delta Optimist points out this place may have the biggest impact on the “commercial store activity” in Ladner and Tsawwassen-superstore Walmart opens in Tsawwassen Commons today. If the mega mall (which as locals have found, is profoundly empty except on the weekend) was not enough, the Walmart as part of the 550,000 square feet of “local” retailing of Tsawwassen Commons aimed directly at folks within a seven minute drive may be the coup de grace for Ladner and Tsawwassen businesses.
This Walmart is 150,000 square feet where the manager states “It’s going to offer a one-stop shop, so you can pick up your groceries that you would normally pick up once a week, but you can also pick up your socks or underwear or TV. It’s going to have everything. It’s built from scratch. It’s a bright store with the full LED lighting and it’s also a very well designed store, designed to make it very easy for the shopper.”
One quarter of this new building will be devoted to groceries, with the remaining area dedicated to a garden area, clothing, electronics, cosmetics and housewares.
By offering many products and low prices, Walmart seeks to have a spatial monopoly, taking the bulk of trade away from local businesses. A study done by the Simon Business School showed that a Walmart supercenter typically impacts retailing within a three-mile radius but not beyond that.
As the study notes: “Walmart’s entry does not negatively affect revenue or employment at grocery stores more than three miles away from the Walmart site. This seems to indicate that Walmart’s strategy of exploiting density economics by convincing consumers to travel farther for goods has not translated from dry goods to groceries.” Consumers with discerning tastes won’t be frequenting a Walmart grocery and “it may be difficult to gather a sufficient mass of grocery shoppers under a single roof to generate the requisite scale.”
So while many folks may travel a lot of kilometers to buy a computer, they may not want to do that with groceries in the post-motordom era. It remains to be seen whether local residents will forsake their local retailers and main streets in Ladner and Tsawwassen for the lure of a Walmart. This, like the huge crowds at the Tsawwassen Mills mega mall, may be a brief fascination.
On his Metro Vancouver transportation blog, Stephen Rees has a letter from guest editor Doug Massey in response to Minister of Transportation Todd Stone’s letter printed in the Delta Optimist on January 20th.
Doug Massey’s letter is worth reading in its entirety as he not only rebuts much of Minister Stone’s premise, he is also describing some very simple steps that could increase capacity in the tunnel if Delta Port implemented them, such as working 24 hours a day 7 days a week like other major ports.
Price Tags has abbreviated Doug Massey’s letter to Minister Todd Stone below:
…”If the statistics from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are correct that in 2015, the Annual Average Daily Traffic was 80,666. which would equal some 3, 361 vehicle per hour, well below the tunnel’s capacity of 7,000 cars per hour, why then is there a problem at rush hour? Could it be that Delta Port is the only major port in North America that does not operate 24/7? The fact that one container or large transport truck could displace up to 1.5 to 4 cars and subject to the fact that heavy trucks take up more space and are slow to accelerate could result in taking up the space of up to several more cars, perhaps up to 10 cars on the road,as at least 13 % of the vehicles using the tunnel during rush hour are large heavy duty trucks.”
“One has to ask why then has the B.C. Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure not even considered a modern day policy of banning all heavy duty large trucks during rush hour, and requiring all receiving and delivery points of cargo to be open 24/7 as is required in most cities around the world?”
Doug Massey notes that “… they are removing the tunnel so that the Fraser River could be dredged deeper to accommodate deeper ships, and that the province was not part of that project, could not be further from the truth. One part is true that they would not be doing the dredging because that is the responsibility of the federal agency, Port Metro Vancouver…building a bridge and removing the tunnel would be their preference and at the urging of industrial interests of the Pacific Gateway Strategy Plan on the Fraser River they chose the bridge.”
“A representative from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was present at meeting of the Pacific Gateway Strategy Plan on April 2006 and on Feb. 2. 2012, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure of the B.C. government met to discuss the constraints to increasing the Fraser River channel depth because of the existence of the George Massey Tunnel and recommended the removal of the George Massey Tunnel to achieve their goals.”
“So you see Mr. Minister and the public it was not a fallacy but a conspiracy.””
In that story that just won’t go away, the Delta Optimist has printed on January 20th a letter from the Minister of Transportation Todd Stone regarding the replacement of the Massey Tunnel by the ten lane, 3.5 billion dollar bridge. It is quite strange to see a Minister of the Provincial Legislature battle it out in a small community newspaper-but for what it’s worth, Minister Stone reassures readers that there’s 8,000 pages of documents on the project website, and that they have done “due process”. All of this while we hear about driverless technology and the marked changes of cities in the next few decades that will no longer have to provide parking space and barns for vehicles, and will be able to reduce street capacity. You’d think these technological advances would also inform bridge/tunnel planning at the billion dollar level-but no.
Doug Massey has written a compelling response to this letter from Minister Stone, which you can read in the next post. Mr. Massey also outlines how facts may be manipulated in favour of the Province, as any proposed “dredging” could in fact be done not by the Province but by the Port, leaving the Province “blameless” in an election year. But first, some excerpts from Minister Todd Stone’s letter:
” We asked the public about the need, and were told the need was great. We surveyed British Columbians about the options and were told a bridge was preferred. Three rounds of indepth public consultation; hundreds of meetings with stakeholders, including the City of Richmond, Corporation of Delta, Metro Vancouver and others.” Minister Stone notes that there is no net loss of farmland as a result-MLA Vicki Huntingdon states that there may be no net loss of farmland, but that replacement agricultural land is certainly not located in Delta or Richmond. A question Price Tags would like to ask-where will this new farmland be located from the losses incurred from the Massey Bridge and overpass construction?
And here is where the letter from the Minister gets a little funny. The rationale for this bridge changes faster than the clouds on a West Coast rainy day. The Minister insists that the bridge is not being designed for navigable ships below it, nor will the river be dredged by the Province. He doesn’t say why other bridge or tunnel options are not being considered. He brings out the “bottleneck” of the tunnel as “the worst in Canada” as a rationale for replacement, and once more brings up vehicular idling. No discussion about timing truck travel through the tunnel, or scheduling large vehicle access. He assures us of the fact that Highway 99 is needed for the movement of goods for Canada’s “Asia-Pacific Gateway”. Improved transit and managing congestion, which might have solved this whole problem in the first place is not mentioned until the final paragraph.
“Transit reliability will be improved, with over $500 million in transit infrastructure included in the project. And the environment will benefit, with less idling, and improvements to Deas Slough and Deas Island. We are moving forward on the project to replace the George Massey Tunnel, and are doing so in confidence that all due diligence has been taken.”
Please see Doug Massey’s response in post #2.
That 3.5 billion dollar project that just seems to go ahead regardless of public input from others in Metro Vancouver or from other Mayors has just reached another (no pun intended) milestone-it’s out for preliminary construction work tender.
The Delta Optimist states that the contracts are for “site preparation in order to improve ground conditions for future lane widening.” One contract will be for the Delta side of the river-the other will be for the Richmond riverbank. All of this despite concerns regarding the soft river delta soil and environmental impacts. This land is part of the one per cent of alluvial soils that used to produce 86 per cent of the vegetables in British Columbia.
As the Delta Optimist states “Last week project director Geoff Freer made a presentation to Delta council to provide an update as well as reiterate many of the positives of the 10-lane bridge, which also includes an extensive series of road projects on both sides of the river.“If we don’t build a new bridge or build a new crossing, things will certainly get a lot worse. So, with or without the project, traffic is going to increase and we will see continued congestion that will continue to get worse,” said Freer. He also explained how other options, including twinning the existing tunnel, aren’t feasible.”
The bridge should be completed for 2022 and will be tolled. Delta Mayor Lois Jackson is advocating a regional “buck a bridge” toll so that all bridges are universally priced, and this bridge is used. The Province is anticipating approval from the Federal government environmental assessment and the success of their application to the Agricultural Land Commission, expected very soon.
The Vancouver Sun reports that the waterpark located to the west of the 1.2 million square foot Tsawwassen Mills Mall is going to reopen with a new 99 year leaseholder, the Executive Hotels and Resorts. This Vancouver based firm will also be building a 200 unit hotel adjacent to the waterpark site as a place for you to spend the night when you come to Delta to enjoy the shopping and the waterpark. And if you really like spending the night and shopping, they are also planning a residential development on the former Class 1 floodplain farmland.
As a spokesman said: “We did want to diversify a little bit and not just focus on one target audience. We want to make this the top attraction in the Lower Mainland. With Tsawwassen Mills, the Tsawwassen Springs golf course, Tsawwassen Commons and the waterpark, Tsawwassen is really turning into an entertainment and shopping destination.”
Location of Tsawwassen Commons serving residents within a seven minute drive
Yes, that is what they said. The new local serving mall beside Tsawwassen Mills which is called Tsawwassen Commons contains 100 stores and 550,000 square feet, the same retail square footage of Ladner and Tsawwassen combined. That mall is designed to steer residents away from the two town centres.But never mind that. Or the fact that the American border with much more diverse shopping experience is just twenty minutes away. Or the fact that a lot of folks buy their goods on-line. Or the fact that a lot of people just don’t drive to shop and sleep at big enclosed malls.
“We have established an exciting mixed use commercial/residential development plan, which includes a complete refurbishment of the waterpark, which is already underway, plus a new Executive Hotel. We will be open for business this summer and look forward to welcoming back all of the waterpark’s loyal guests, as well as thousands of new guests to experience the rejuvenated Big Splash waterpark experience.”
The BBC has reported on a Canadian study published in the Lancet that suggests that people living within fifty meters of a major road have higher rates of dementia.“The researchers, who followed nearly 2m people in Canada over 11 years, say air pollution or noisy traffic could be contributing to the brain’s decline.UK dementia experts said the findings needed probing but were “plausible”.”
“The study in the Lancet followed nearly two million people in the Canadian province of Ontario, between 2001 and 2012. There were 243,611 cases of dementia diagnosed during that time, but the risk was greatest in those living closest to major roads.Compared with those living 300m away from a major road the risk was:
The analysis suggests 7-11% of dementia cases within 50m of a major road could be caused by traffic.”
This study is suggesting that living near heavy traffic can cause a public health impact, and more research is required to examine particular aspects such as air pollutants, noise, nitrogen oxides and rubber tire particulates.
“This is an important paper,” says Prof Martin Rossor, the UK’s National Institute for Health Research director for dementia research.He added: “The effects are small, but with a disorder with a high population prevalence, such effects can have important public health implications.”
The Price Tags Editorial Board has met at the secret undisclosed location near Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park to ponder and surmise the winners of the 2016 Annual Gordie Awards.
As always, Price Tags values the readers and contributors to this blog, and asks you to provide your valued opinion in each of the following categories.
The 2016 Gordies will be awarded starting Tuesday January 3, 2017 as follows:
Biggest Transportation Events
Happiest Transportation Story
Planning for Big Impact [Positive or Negative]
Most Puzzling Planning Work
Most Polarizing Planning Work
And a special award to : Moments of Courage
Each category will awarded daily starting on Tuesday.
A Happy New Year to Price Tag readers.
Sometimes it is the details that make or break a project-and if you are the Province of British Columbia’s Premier and you have signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change-well, you might want to look at the fine print. In his opinion article in the Vancouver Sun Eric Doherty notes that there’s a clause that shows a policy shift that could “dramatically reduce climate pollution from transportation”.
“Over the past decades the federal government has funded transportation infrastructure with little or no regard for climate pollution. They spent billions of public dollars every year on projects that increase climate pollution, such as urban highway expansion. And since projects are usually cost-shared, one billion of federal money is often matched by two billion from the province and region or municipality. Largely as a result of this perverse spending, between 1990 and 2014 climate pollution from transportation increased 32 per cent.”
Eric notes that the SightLine Institute found that “adding one mile of new highway lane will increase CO2 emissions by more than 100,000 tons over 50 years. Considering that transportation is the second-biggest source of climate pollution in Canada, the effect of road expansion must not be ignored”. That framework that the Premier just signed commits governments at both levels to “shift from higher- to lower-emitting types of transportation, including through investing in infrastructure.” The examples include shifting from driving to transit and cycling, as well as shifting freight from trucks to rail.
All the mayors in Metro Vancouver rejected the 3.5 billion dollar ten lane Massey Bridge except the Mayor of Delta. Now originally the Mayors rejected this massive bridge project because it is in the wrong place and is against the Regional Plan. But, as Eric Doherty points out, ” the Massey Bridge proposal also violates the federal-provincial climate framework”.
The Port Mann bridge was built by the Province without Federal funding and it was also opposed by Metro Vancouver. The Federal government instead put their funding into transit. Eric Doherty notes “Now everyone who wants better transit has a new tool to help ensure our public funds are not spent to make the climate crisis worse. The first step is to get your municipality and regional district to endorse this new policy of shifting money away from road projects that increase pollution to public transit. Then be prepared to demand that your mayor and councillors actively oppose the next polluting urban-highway-expansion project that the provincial government announces.”
The Vancouver Sun has started a series of articles on traffic and congestion under the ominous title “Waiting for Solutions…The Getting There Scare”. It is a rather surprising title and has a rather surprising slant-that for you, the Vancouver Sun reader, your commute by car is going to get worse, and that by 2041 there could be an extra 700,000 cars on the road. Never mind that there may also be enhanced transit, higher density dwelling areas close to rapid transit stations and car shares that would mitigate such a commute. This article buys into the rhetoric that the car is king now and forever.
The rest of the series which will be published this week include articles on Cars Vs.Bikes , traffic on the North Shore, How to stay calm while driving, and Driverless Technology. I was looking forward to seeing a well-balanced discussion on transportation, modal splits, and an update on some of the announcements that have just come out from the Mayor’s Council on Transportation. But no,this is motordom’s response on how to keep cars moving to and from the suburbs, questioning the expenditure of gas tax revenue and the slow expansion of car related infrastructure.
“Metro drivers, who paid more than $1 billion in gas taxes in 2015, are asking whether enough is being done to reduce lineups…Motorists contributed $357 million of gas-tax money to TransLink in 2015, subsidizing transit with their wallets. They paid even more by sitting in traffic.Some of that $1 billion could be spent to upgrade traffic lights all over the city; in this day of electronic devices there is no longer any reason for drivers to sit at a red light at an empty intersection”.
Encouraging transit use actually would mean that there would be substantially less cars on the road, and active transportation users also factor into increasing road capacity for vehicles. The Sun quotes a UBC engineer who states that planners should be “modally agnostic” — not favour the bike over the car, but judge individual situations on merit” and that Vancouver may have “overreacted” by favouring bikes too much… It’s a Canadian thing to root for the underdog. Some people treat bikes as a religion. They’re evangelizing it, But cars are in the future for the long term.”
And now for my personal favourite: ““Vancouver planners have a different attitude, which creates conflicts when vehicles from the car-friendly suburbs enter the city” . Kudos to Vancouver’s Director of Transportation Lon LaClaire for responding directly stating “There is only so much you can do with a car. Walking, biking and transit are the transportation modes I really care about. To think this is ideologically driven is kind of crazy.”
The whole article reads as a statement/react piece by frustrated motorists, and is indicative of the single car focus so favoured by the Province in their massive infrastructure overbuilds and their relentless pursuit of a ten lane Massey Bridge. It is a good wake up call that there is still much education that needs to happen at the citizen level, and also a call for a more balanced and researched communication about the future of moving in Metro Vancouver.
The Toronto Star and its reporters are to be commended for talking about what others have ignored for so long-the tremendous grief, carnage and cost to families, friends, the insurance corporation and the health system caused by pedestrians and cyclists being maimed and killed by vehicles-it was called road violence at the start of the twentieth century, and that term is returning to use now.
I have been writing about the awful year that the City of Toronto has had with over 40 deaths and hundreds of severe injuries. We like to think that in Vancouver we have this under control, with our well thought out transportation hierarchy that gives pedestrians the first priority. Those triangle graphs are lovely,but as a Price Tags commenter noted yesterday, there’s a real gap between what we say and what we do in Vancouver. While I am concentrating on the road violence in Toronto because there is a true will to do something about it, it should be noted that Vancouver’s pedestrian deaths, at over one person being killed a month is per capita twice the rate of Toronto’s. Where is the reaction?
Road safety or the lack of it is being recognized as a major public health problem. Our own Provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall identified road violence as a major cause of fatalities and serious injuries in his report Where the Rubber Meets the Road released this spring. Dr. Kendall notes that 280 people die and another 79,000 people are injured on roads in British Columbia every year. Vulnerable road users (those people without the protection of an enclosed vehicle) make up 45.7 per cent of serious injuries in 2011. Vulnerable road users were also 31.7 per cent of fatalities in 2009 and that increased to 34.9 per cent in 2013.
In Toronto, City staff are now perceiving road safety as a major public health problem, where 1500 pedestrian and 950 cyclist collisions with vehicles have been reported to October 30. There is a 20.7 per cent hike in pedestrian injuries being treated at Toronto’s main trauma centre. That is not acceptable.
“Ward Vanlaar, chief operating officer of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation in Ottawa, said until the last decade or so, road safety was thought of as a transportation issue. “The take on it was that we have a price to pay for mobility, and the price is that certain people will die and that was considered to be acceptable,” he said. Vanlaar said that in recent years he’s seen a shift in thinking about traffic safety, both globally and across Canada. “People working in this field, and also in other health-related fields have had this epiphany almost, like ‘Hey, there are really a lot of people dying,’” he said.
There is a major change in seeing safety being more important than mobility, and having that applied to vulnerable road users too. If humans make mistakes that can cost human lives, then a transportation system needs to be designed to” mitigate those risks and basically eliminate those instances where, because of human error, people will die.”
Monica Campbell, a spokesperson for Toronto Public Health, said traffic safety falls within the realm of her department.“If you invest in safer roads, safer streets, better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians – does that reduce the burden on the healthcare system? Absolutely it does,” she said.
So there you have it-traffic safety and the safety of vulnerable road users is a public health priority at the municipal level in Toronto and in British Columbia at the Provincial level. Now we just need to start designing our streets as if every users’ life truly does matter. It is the difference between injury, life and death.
It’s had the feel of a strange year. A good point was at the C40 meeting in Mexico City, where four major world cities affirmed that they would ban diesel engines in their boundaries. A low point was in Canada where we have experienced one of the warmest summers in history. And satellite photography reaffirms that the polar ice is melting at a much faster rate than expected.
In the face of that kind of evidence, our Provincial approach to climate change and to adapting to 21st century concerns about the environment appear to be at odds.In Metro Vancouver the Port is discussing adding a new terminal on the sensitive migratory flyway habitat, one of the few in the world. There is also a curiously jumbo retail megamall destination built on class one farmland on the delta river floodplain. And we are going for the triple play with the building of a ten lane bridge replacing the Massey tunnel on the same arable soils, ostensibly to reduce idling and maybe to let larger vessels go up the Fraser River.
Ian Bailey writing in the Globe and Mail reports on a study for the Pembina Institute, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and Clean Energy Canada that puts British Columbia in the “fail” category: “The analysis of British Columbia’s recently released Climate Leadership Plan says carbon pollution from natural gas, industry and utilities, transport and buildings will hit 66 megatonnes in 2050, far more than the province’s legislated target of 12.6 megatonnes. The assessment, conducted by energy and environment consultants at Navius Research, said growing carbon pollution from the liquefied natural gas sector – assuming it comes online – and upstream shale-gas operations will constitute the largest contributor to the size of the gap with carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas doubling by 2025″.
That means that the current Provincial government will not make its goal of reducing emissions by 33% below 2007 levels by 2020. The local associate director of the Pembina Institute stated “The province is increasingly trumpeting its climate leadership but we’re not on track, and we’re going in the wrong direction from a climate and carbon pollution perspective.”
The Province’s response has been surprising, including statements that the Province has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions,and that there will be no carbon tax increase until the other provinces do it as well.
Somehow we have singlemindly looked at industry and shipping driving the economy, and forgotten that the service industry is becoming a larger component. For some reason the Province’s thinking is 20th century industry based, and not responsive to climate change indicators or the need for flexibility and adaptability as shown in Alberta. With five months left to a Provincial election, innovative thinking and ownership is needed. Our future may depend on it.
As reported in the Delta Optimist not only is Metro Vancouver’s Delta on the receiving end of a new Provincial ten lane bridge, a 1.2 million square foot regional mall and a 550,000 square foot local mall on First Nations territory and a Port expansion, it looks like they will be hosting a Casino too.
Delta is the B.C. Lottery Corporation’s “preferred host” for a new gambling centre. Delta was chosen because of strong market potential, community plans and transportation access. As part of the revamping of Surrey’s Newton Community Gaming Centre (read a bingo place) the lottery corporation asked Delta, the Tsawwassen First Nation and Surrey to submit expressions of interest. Surrey said no, and Delta submitted the Town and Country Hotel site owned by Ron Toigo and Shato Holdings (of White Spot and Tsawwassen Springs) on the east side of Highway 99 at the Massey Tunnel. The Tsawwassen First Nations does have an entertainment zoned area but requires an amendment to allow for casino inclusion in their by-law, and did not specify the location for their proposed casino.
There is good money in gambling, where the Province estimates a casino can create 25 to 50 million dollars in incremental revenues. The local host government get ten per cent of net gaming income-which would mean a handy annual income estimated to be about 1.5 to 3 milion dollars a year. Casinos do however have a negative impact on property values and surrounding property use. As reported in the Atlantic monthly a casino is an all absorbing business that does not release its customers until they have no money.
The lottery corporation felt that the Delta proposed location next to Highway 99 was too close to Richmond’s River Rock casino, and requires “a more suitable location that, combined with size and scope details, will form a gaming facility proposal for Delta’s consideration.” However in the Surrey Leader Delta’s Chief Administrative Officer observed “It’s isolated, it’s not near schools, it’s not in the communities [and] people won’t be driving there through communities. The area’s sited for upgrades with the new [bridge] coming in, so to us it’s a perfect site.”
Delta’s chosen casino site at the Town and Country Inn site may change. As Mayor Jackson states “We’re in a very middle-of-the-road position. We’ll go through the process and if something comes forward that looks amenable, obviously we would take that forward to council and go from there. Nothing is cast in stone in any way, shape or form…it would still all have to go to public hearing.”
Well, where would that be? If you are Minister Todd Stone and you are writing a letter to The Richmond News published October 25 in response to the potential twinning of the Massey Tunnel under the Fraser River, it IS the Massey Tunnel.
Answering a query to the 2006 Gateway Program Definition Report that identified a longer-term plan to twin the George Massey Tunnel, Minister Stone responds: “Twinning the tunnel in this context was not an endorsement of the construction of a new tunnel, but rather the report promoted the need to increase the capacity of this vital crossing.”
“There is no doubt amongst anyone who must pass through the current tunnel that a change is necessary. The George Massey Tunnel represents the single worst bottleneck in the province. Over the last 10 years, the ministry has engaged in detailed technical analysis and broad consultation on a number of options that will ensure the smoother movements of people and goods along this important corridor.”
And here is the best part of the letter: “The new bridge will be 10 lanes wide, benefitting both drivers and transit users with increased reliability and reduced transit travel time. The new bridge design includes dedicated transit/HOV lanes to ensure reliable transit service, and will be built to accommodate future rapid transit service. It will also have added access for cyclists and pedestrians. This free-flowing bridge is expected to reduce GHGs by about 13,000 tonnes a year, a 70 per cent reduction from current conditions at the tunnel, and save most commuters 30 minutes a day.”
Now that is news to me that pedestrians will be walking across the proposed Massey Bridge. I don’t know where they will be walking to or from. I expect the tonnes of GHG reduction must be from the Province’s estimation of vehicles idling, which of course could also be solved by tunnel twinning. And of course free-flowing refers to traffic ON the bridge, not the bottlenecks that will occur off the bridge.
Not only does Minister Stone say that a new tunnel would be more expensive than a bridge, he notes a tunnel “ also carry significantly more construction risks and would have a greater impact on the environment, private property, agricultural land, and the Fraser River. The George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project is subject to British Columbia’s world class environmental assessment process that incorporates the feedback from several federal agencies, including the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Transport Canada, into their final decision. And let me be clear — there are no plans to dredge the Fraser River.”
Minister Stone notes that the new bridge will survive a one in 2,475 seismic earthquake event, and that public feedback on the project has been “instrumental” and the project “will continue to incorporate local advice”.
The full statement can be read here.
Business in Vancouver‘s Glen Korstrom reports that Tsawwassen Mills has no intent to change the way the traffic circulates in the mega mall parking lot to alleviate the huge jams of idling cars trying to access and exit the 180 store behemoth on Class 1 farmland. With only three exits servicing 6,000 parking spaces, things can get a little dicey. And a little heated.
The first opening weekend traffic flag people hired by the mall as well as the Delta police and RCMP worked to make traffic flow. However that did not stop anxious car idlers from driving their SUVs’ over landscaping to escape the curvilinear feeder streets, nor did it stop shoppers from parking along Highway 17 and in an adjacent farmer’s field. Coupled with the rain, and some hot tempers it was like watching an outdoors monster truck rally.
Approximately 284,000 shoppers jammed B.C.’s newest mall in the six days following Tsawwassen Mills’ October 5 launch and many of them complained about being stuck in parking lot gridlock that was so bad that it took up to four hours to leave the facility.
“To prevent [gridlock] from happening again, we’ve adapted some of the learnings to the traffic control people we have in place for the busier times,” the mall’s general manager Mark Fenwick told Business in Vancouver October 13.
The Bunt and Associates Transportation Planning and Engineering plan for Ivanhoe Cambridge will not be amended. The mall manager states “What we’re doing is providing some educational material for guests to better show guests how they would exit the parking lot .It’s not as simple as having one exit on each side of the property. As people learn the site, it will flow a lot better, I’m sure.”
No mention of how to get there by transit or how to access the site safely from nearby Tsawwassen by foot. Motordom is alive and well on this farmland floodplain location.
Columnist Pete McMartin went to the Tsawwassen Mills mega mall on opening day October 5 stating “The mall is alarmingly big, and its construction on what used to be prime farm land between Ladner and Tsawwassen was greeted by both loathing and eager anticipation by locals — of which I am one. Some saw it as a welcome addition to the retail landscape, which was limited, or an abomination that would forever destroy the cozy feel of their communities.”
He also stated that his wife refused to shop there, but may have been outnumbered by the consumers eager to experience the mall. The Province reports that 284,000 people went to the mall in the first six days, including 201,000 from October 5 to October 8.
Vancouver Sun columnist Douglas Todd did a double take on a “Waste of Farmland” billboard protesting the building of the Site C Dam located on Tsawwassen First Nations land. As Todd notes, “The billboard is not questioning, however, how the giant Tsawwassen Mills shopping mall has just been built on more than 1,000 acres of adjacent farmland owned by the Tsawwassen band. The billboard is instead questioning why the B.C. government is building its Site C dam on farmland in the far-away Peace River district.”
Todd summarizes that as part of the 2007 Tsawwassen First Nation Treaty with the B.C. government and others “ added 1,072 acres of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) to the Tsawwassen band’s land, on which the mall, one of Canada’s biggest, has been built. The 180-store mall was constructed on Tsawwassen First Nations land by Ivanhoe Cambridge, a multi-national conglomerate based in Quebec. Members of the Tsawwassen First Nations expect the deal to be an economic boon for them. It’s always interesting how ecological values are tested when money is involved.”
The New York Times interviewed Ed Humes who has written “Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation” looking at how we shaped the world around our personal ownership of a car. And Mr. Humes wastes no words describing the car as a social, health and economic challenge.
Next to our home, the car is our single largest household expense. We’re paying for it round the clock. Yet, it sits idle for 22 hours a day. Plus, it’s horribly inefficient in how it uses energy. The average car wastes about 80 percent of the gasoline put into it. By comparison, an electric vehicle uses about 90 percent to actually move the car.
Humes also quotes the National Safety Council’s data on car crashes showed that in 2015, 38,300 people died and 4.4 million were seriously injured. Roads are built for vehicles to travel much faster than the stated speed limit. People go to fast, and speeding is one of the major reasons for crashes. Humes points out that over a lifetime, we each have a one in 113 chance of dying in a car. Despite safety devices in vehicles, cars are driven too fast to survive collisions. And pedestrians?
A pedestrian struck by a vehicle going 40 miles an hour has a 10 percent chance of surviving, and one struck by a car at 20 m.p.h. has a 90 percent chance. So when we post a 40-mile maximum speed limit on a boulevard where pedestrians walk, we’re saying that in the event of a crash, a 90 percent mortality rate is acceptable.
In the 1920s, The New York Times referred to what we now erroneously call “accidents” as “motor killings.” There was more outrage then.
Humes describes that in the 1920’s there was a national movement to place speed governors on cars that would prevent cars from travelling at high speeds. The car industry pushed back. Humes sees the driverless car technology as taking the life-or-death decisions out of the hands of the drivers, and getting back to the days of speed governors on cars. Except this time the car industry is backing the technology. And Humes notes that until the driverless car technology is perfected, those speed governors are not a bad idea to be implemented now to save lives and prevent injuries.
Tsawwassen Mills, the mega mall on Class 1 farmland between the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and Highway 99 opens today to breathless fanfare. As reported in the Delta Optimist “A throng of eager shoppers is expected to descend on the 1.2-million-square-foot shopping centre, which has been intensely advertising incentives to lure those looking for deals.”
Located just off Highway 17 at 52nd Street, the mall will open with 180 stores including 16 anchor tenants, but will eventually have 200 retailers. Those retailers have had a tough time getting minimum wage workers to staff the mall, which does not have good transit connections and a dense population nearby to service the mall. Indeed on the Tsawwassen Mills website the hours of operation have been scaled back to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays from a more ambitious 10:00 p.m. closing.
The mall is estimating that up to 20 per cent of customers will be from outside Metro Vancouver, “including tourists and shoppers from other parts of the province”.
The Delta Optimist happily predicts “It remains to be seen if the 6,000 stalls in the parking lot will be enough for opening day, which is expected to clog local roads with traffic”. Yes, in Delta, success is measured not in modal transportation splits but in parking spaces occupied. Motordom reigns on the south side of the Fraser.
The CBC quotes retail consultant David Gray with a more cautionary note on how this largest of malls will be successful:
“It’s not going to be a slam dunk They’re not going to be a convenience mall or mall for locals. Sure, locals will shop there, but for them to be successful, they’re going to be what’s known as a destination mall or a mall where people are going to make some pretty major time investments for their shopping trips.”
If you are making the trek out to this mall of malls, do comment and let Price Tags know your observations and your predictions on the success of this monolith to 20th century merchandising.