The timing of this announcement after the Provincial election is puzzling.As reported in the Surrey Leader the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced yesterday that despite everything that is being said-“they have no plans to deepen the Fraser River to accommodate larger vessels.”
In a strangely late announcement, the Port emailed the media stating that “the port authority recently completed an analysis of the river and its potential to accommodate increasing trade, that considered a variety of possible uses of existing port lands and assessed dredging the river at different depths, both with and without the removal of the George Massey Tunnel. The port authority’s analysis, completed in 2016, determined that deepening the Fraser River would be extremely costly, requiring extensive environmental study and consultation over many years.”
The study showed that with more use of the Port’s existing terminals and further development of the port authority’s existing industrial lands along the water, the Fraser River will be well positioned to accommodate Canada’s growing trade without deepening the channel,” said Peter Xotta, vice president, planning and operations at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.
So if the existing tunnel is not a challenge for the Port’s development potential (despite the release of previous documents indicating that the future deeper draft is a consideration) and the existing tunnel is “not constraining the current development potential of the river” then why was the bridge the single-minded solution offered by the Provincial government?
The Port maintains a 36 kilometer long channel on the Fraser River’s south arm. Studies show that 2.5 to 3.5 million cubic meters of sediment is “deposited annually” in that part of the river and it is dredged in the lower reaches for flood protection ad flow capacity.
In this bridge/tunnel shell game is the plan to offer a twinning of the tunnel instead of the overbuilt multi-billion dollar bridge in exchange for the Port’s rapid industrial development of their 200 acres of properties along the Fraser?