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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.

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Comments

  1. I’m confused. Minister Stone refers to the bottleneck of the tunnel as the worst in Canada. The recent congestion study commissioned by the Canadian Automobile Association (https://www.caa.ca/bottlenecksincanada/) ranks this bottleneck as 20th worst in Canada, far below South Granville St., Granville between Broadway and 16th, and Georgia St. between Seymour and Pender in annual total delay and emissions. Is the Minister exaggerating? Why is he not concerned about the more serious bottlenecks?

    1. The people (CPCS) that did that study for the CAA are a long way away from Granville Street. Their office is in residential area of suburban Ottawa. They are mainly involved in projects in Africa. Their chairman is also the vice chair of the board of directors of the Canadian Council on Africa. They have three VPs for business in various regions of Africa, one international VP, one corporate VP and one VP for North America who just happens to be the Past President of the Canadian Transportation Research Forum, which operates from a P.O. Box in Woodstock, Ontario. They are a non-profit that does consulting work for governments, etc. The North America VP probably had contacts a the CAA to get this study. They also publish Rising Africa a trade mag on mining and other opportunities for Canadian companies.
      The Chairman: “Peter has been responsible for leading large multi-disciplinary teams responsible for the successful private investment in railways and ports in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Madagascar, Jordan and Armenia.
      His most current major accomplishment is the successful privatization of the entire publicly owned power sector in Nigeria. CPCS is the lead transaction advisor for the sale or concessioning of two hydro-electric companies, four existing gas-fired generating companies and eleven regional electricity distribution companies. The transactions closed on schedule in August 2013 generating proceeds of over $2.6 billion dollars for the government and commitments for new investment of a further $3.0 billion.
      CPCS is also the lead transaction advisor for the sale of ten brand new gas-fired generating companies constructed under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) in Nigeria. Eighty-two consortia were shortlisted and the winning bids for 80% ownership of approximately 5 GW of capacity were $5.8 billion.”
      A little study for the auto club using Tom Tom data is really small change.

  2. CPCS stands for Canadian Pacific Consultant Services. Transportation consulting. Now separated from CP by a management buyout. Surprising that they are a non-profit. Source?

    1. Look at their web site (.ca), feature number 6.
      They broke away from CP in a management buyout over a quarter of a century ago.

  3. It should have been a comma instead of a full stop. It’s the Canada Transport Research Forum that is the non-profit. This is where the CPCS VP for North America used to be president.

  4. Anyway. The important point is really that those that wrote the study did it from afar. Way afar. Stating that the worst bottleneck congestion in Vancouver is SW Marine and Granville shows reveals their ignorance.
    The traffic going north at that stretch of road is coming from the airport and some of Richmond, with a few vehicles looping around from the Oak Street Bridge and a couple of drivers going home from the bus depot. Southbound it all flows quite well.
    Only an impatient AMG driver would say this is a bottleneck.

  5. The most important point, as I see it, is whether good data have been used and a sound methodology employed. Based on a quick look at the report, I think the answer to both is yes. Maybe a more thorough consideration of the report would lead to a different conclusion? I don’t see the relevance of the physical location of those who conducted the study.

    1. There is absolutely no way in the world that the most congested part of Vancouver is Granville St at SW Marine Dr. The end of Granville where it leads over to YVR? They do not know what they are saying.

      1. Darn that data anyway. It is ruining a perfectly good (but unfounded) theory! Don’t confuse us with facts, our mind is made up! Besides these consultants don’t know anything about Canada, despite the CP in their name standing for Canadian Pacific! And they are too far away! Everybody knows you can’t evaluate locally supplied data remotely, you have to be there! Don’t ask Google, or Bing Maps, or Here to calculate a route, they don’t live here! Ask a local!
        /sarc

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