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Back to the south of the Fraser River where the Massey Bridge is getting a serious rethink by the Province, who are evaluating whether a nearly 4 Billion dollar bridge  located on the sensitive river delta in the wrong place for regional growth is the right thing to do. As Graeme Wood in the Richmond News reports  the Mayor of Richmond Malcolm Brodie expressed gratitude for the pause, saying  “The current government appears to be listening to our concerns that we’ve been expressing over and over for the last four to five years.”
Mr. Brodie is hoping that the Province will consider a twinned tunnel to achieve eight driving lanes. Costs for a twinned tunnel or a bridge are similar, but the tunnel will preclude the port from having large ships navigate upriver. A tunnel would also get rid of the huge highway interchange planned for Steveston Highway.
The Minister of Transportation says that there “was not a thorough business case, a thorough look at all the options.”   The proposed review will  involve the Metro Vancouver mayors and  “focus on what level of improvement is needed in the context of regional and provincial planning, growth and vision, as well as which option would be best for the corridor, be it the proposed 10-lane bridge, a smaller bridge or tunnel.”
Meanwhile in Delta  the Mayor and Council headed up the “We Need A Bridge” campaign counter to the expressed vote of every other mayor in the region.  But residents are starting to notice that their new rookie MLA Ian Paton is serving two roles-he has not given up his position as councillor for the corporation of Delta, and attended the last council meeting via Skype.  The next civic election will not happen until October 2018. While Mr Paton continues in his dual roles he is also lashing out at the work stoppage  on the bridge, repeating  the earthquake in the tunnel safety scenario and reiterating the fact that the tunnel gets congestion. No mention that the congestion, like water, will just plug up closer to Vancouver with a ten lane bridge. You just can’t build your way out of congestion. It doesn’t work like that.
Mr Paton’s refusal to give up his councillor position despite being an MLA brought out a strong reaction from a resident who stated in the local paper “As a taxpayer, it is money well spent to have a by-election and it is unacceptable that Paton continues to draw a salary as councillor at the same time drawing a salary as MLA. Paton quite simply cannot function objectively in the two roles at the same time.”
The practice of dual mandate or as the British call it double jobbing is against the law in many places, but not in British Columbia-or Belgium. You can’t serve as a member of parliament and be a member of the provincial legislature.  But you can be a member of the provincial legislature and a municipal councillor.  The Province of B.C. did try to enact dual office prohibition legislation  but it did not pass a second reading.  There is one  precedent  from twenty years ago when MLA Jenny Kwan also served as a city councillor for a very limited time. But for an emerging municipality like Delta which needs critical thinking about diversifying the economy and energizing new industries, it just makes sense-two heads at two different levels of government are always better than one.
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Comments

  1. “Mr. Brodie is hoping that the Province will consider a twinned tunnel to achieve eight driving lanes. ”
    Bravo . as argued here elsewhere on this blog.
    When though ? Another ten years of “consultations and study” and then a five year build cycle ?

  2. “Costs for a twinned tunnel or a bridge are similar” actually no. That was an assertion by Richmond staff but has no foundation in anything credible.
    “Twinning” the tunnel is also not the only option. Just adding another two lane tube would be enough to get the existing one up to seismic standards, two lanes at a time. Then when that work is done converting two of now six lane crossing to mass transit – probably express bus at first but LRT in due course. These are the sort of options that ought to have been evaluated before picking a massive, multi-lane cable stayed structure founded on unstable ground in an earthquake zone.
    There also needs to objective, unbiased professional studies. As we have seen with the Gateway fiasco, that has not been the way that things were done under the previous government. The time has come for some real transportation and regional land use planning, which will take some time and, I think, new personnel.

    1. Express buses have priority now. They zip down the dedicated bus lane, both north and southbound, then go straight into the tunnel. The bus lanes leading to the tunnel are never congested to any degree. Your suggestion would really do nothing at all for the truck, commercial and vehicle traffic. You might shave a few seconds off any bus trip but the general congestion would not be relieved at all. Taking out a couple of buses each hour won’t lessen the traffic volume in the existing tunnel.
      The studies have been going on for well over seven years. Thousands of pages have been written by hundreds of experts, and others. More study needed is just a make-work project when the work has been already done. Though, that’s probably what will happen.
      deleted as per editorial policy

  3. Dotty, you’re toeing the old and discredited company line.
    Several studies have been done, but not all their results were unbiased, accurate, as detailed as they needed to be or even published. Read up on the geotechnical assessment, for one, that clearly indicates a lack of adequate ground bearing capacity even at the unprecedented depth of 330 metres. Where is the seismic modeling of the interaction of the liquifaction-prone porridge-like soil with the proposed pile-supported tower foundations? Further, where are the public tender documents on this (thankfully cancelled) $3.5+++ billion public project?
    Then you’ve got the previous transport minister’s outright propaganda on congestion, car dependency and emissions that contradict 50 years of evidence in every jurisdictions that freewayed itself into hell, and the inference that the trucking industry purposely jams the tunnel and highway at rush hours to skew the congestion stats. Alternatively, trucking shippers could spread the volume of trucks out by working the port on a 24-hour cycle. Every other major port in the world works 24/7, and trucks are largely scheduled more efficiently to travel in the off hours.
    Moreover, I understand that the overall traffic data indicates a plateau and decline, not an increase. With over 70% of vehicles comprising single-occupant cars, you have a sure recipe for inefficiency and waste. That is not corrected by spending orders of magnitude more to build even more inefficient and wasteful edifices that catalyze the supremacy of the car.
    There are better ways that cost less.

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