proposed-george-massey-bridge-artist-rendering1

Back to Delta, and the “you just can’t make this stuff up” department.

Mayor Lois Jackson and staff are in Ottawa and Quebec City on a $40,000, seven-day junket approved by council. In Ottawa, they’re drumming up support for the “stalled” $3.5 billion, ten-lane Massey Bridge, which is currently undergoing independent evaluation by the province.

It’s surprising that Delta taxpayers are not more upset about paying for this $40,000 trip. The City of Delta is the only one of the 21 member municipalities in Metro Vancouver that wanted this bridge behemoth in this location. It’s a version of the one-trick pony — insisting on that one thing you need, even when the rest of the region says “not here and not now”.

Challenges to this campaign for a multi-billion dollar, ten-lane bridge continue to mount.

Back in Delta, a letter in the Delta Optimist from former columnist Ian Robertson delves into a freedom of information request he filed with the premier’s office under the previous, Liberal government.

Seeking more documentation related to the decision, he was surprised to find…there was no documentation. Furthermore, he was told by project managers that the Massey Bridge decision was a “high level” consultation, and “no notes were taken“.

As Mr. Robertson observes, despite the fact experts from Europe were previously contacted about the tunnel design, “it appears the government did not seriously consider them, or other options, before rushing in with a bridge — modelled after what is already up the river.” 

Of course “up the river” refers to the Alex Fraser and the Port Mann bridges.

In conclusion, Mr. Robertson asks: “So now our mayor is in Ottawa promoting the bridge. On what basis? It was not the logical choice at the beginning (no serious consideration of alternatives) and it might be an expensive boondoggle. Who knows when experts for the other choices have not been consulted?”

A flawed process under the previous Liberal provincial government needs to be prudently rethought so that all Massey crossing alternatives are carefully considered.

Comments

  1. Unfortunately Delta is basically a floodplain sitting on bog. That doesn’t hold well for bridge construction requirements. Bridges the size of the Massey Tunnel replacement that (comment deleted) Delta councillors say needs to be constructed —- tend to sink in bog. If they got beyond their scary local logic these elected (comment deleted as per editorial policy) might discover that the boggy ground is why a tunnel was constructed way back in the days when people didn’t know anything. These councillors really do like those free trips across the country don’t they? Should really get out of their houses a little more a look at the geography around them before embarking on stupidity.

  2. Mayor Jackson is right. The majority of those polled in all areas of Metro supported construction of the bridge. More do now. Every day that people are stuck in chronic congestion more bridge supporters are recruited.

    A couple I was with today said, as we crawled through traffic getting into and through the tunnel (in the middle of the day!) said that, yes, they love Europe and the compact cities with great rail service – everywhere but that is not what we have in Vancouver. The government that has paused building of the bridge refuses to accept that the region continues to grow.

    They will be voting in the next election.

    1. “…yes, they love Europe and the compact cities with great rail service …”

      They love it. But don’t dare think of doing that here! They love it. But keep us tied to our cars. They love it. But build sprawl sprawl sprawl. They love it. But probably voted no for improved transit. They love it. I’ll bet they’re opposed to mobility pricing too. They love it but live in a sprawly ‘burb, dependent on cars and bridges and tunnels.

      They love it. Yes they do.

      Really. They do.

  3. You do realise that Planetizen and Urbanized just published a UBC/McGill report clearly showing Canadians happier in smaller communities. A modest study of 400,000 (four hundred thousand) people.

    https://www.planetizen.com/news/2018/06/99091-canadian-cities-grow-survey-finds-happiest-canadians-are-smaller-communities.

    Yes, we like to go to compact dense cities for our R&R. Places like downtown SFO and NewYork come to mind, as well as Hong Kong and Tokyo, eh. Europe is neat too but as the study shows, people like to come home to space, a garden and quiet.

    People did not vote ‘no’ for improved transit, they voted ‘no’ to giving TransLink more and more and more money.

    Even if the next Vancouver administration decides to alter the zoning on those massive areas of single-family zones it will take many years before any real volume of more-dense dwelling product comes on the market and is occupied. Say at best ten years.

    By that time Surrey will almost certainly have a larger population than Vancouver.

    Very few politicians really want to spend all that money TransLink says it hasn’t got on a little train out to the bucolic university in the forest on the other side of Point Grey.

    1. First of all the measure of “happiness” in small towns and big cities wasn’t profoundly different, only slightly different. The worst places were still 75% happy and that’s a glass 3/4 full situation. The happiest weren’t 100% either. It was also self-reported which begs a lot of questions.

      The unhappiest places in our region are the ones in the worst of sprawl or undergoing massive upheaval. Kits looked pretty happy. Maple Ridge not so much. West End was above average. The Expo Line Corridor less so. More change. More people struggling to get into the market? Does the city make people less happy? Or is it letting go of the small town that frustrates many? Is it clinging to a car when it no longer makes sense? Certainly housing costs play a big role. So small towns have an advantage that is not replicable in cities. The attempt to maintain small town lifestyles in growing cities does not make people happier. It just stresses them out with ridiculous commutes and dependence on multiple cars.

      So go live in a small town if that’s what you want.

      There are rapidly growing opportunities in our region to live in dense urban centres with pretty good transit and most of what you need close by. It’ll keep getting better. If your couple really loves what they say they do they’d get on board rather than trying to push us in the exact opposite direction. If they don’t really love compact cities then what’s the point of saying they do?

    2. People did not vote ‘no’ for improved transit, they voted ‘no’ to giving TransLink more and more and more money.

      That is incorrect. TransLink needed a mere 1/2 of one per cent increase in tax to fund its plan. It was nothing. The referendum was in fact an escape clause for Christy Clark who provided a platform for expressions of rage. It was a mob protesting everything but transit. The analysis afterward clearly indicated many people who support transit voted No because they were angry at politicians.

      Referenda are used by weak leaders who do not understand the huge value of public amenities like transit, and who cannot do a modicum of research on the economic return from the investment. Clark also disliked the big city because it defeated her in one election; she and key ministers ridiculed local urban government and favoured discredited, bloated freeway projects. As the result she and said ministers were defeated in the Metro, which contains half the population of the province.

  4. For a majority of the new immigrants, that are now a majority of Metro residents, driving around town for work, etc., is not something they cling to. For most of them, once they are settled in metro Vancouver they buy the first vehicle in their lives.

    1. Some numbers please.

      Some immigrants come poor. Some are refugees. Some are middle class and have always owned a car. Some come rich and drive around in Lamborghinis.

      But most residents are local and have been brought up on a steady diet of motordom propaganda. You are your car. A car is always the best way to move around anywhere you want to go. It is freedom. Stay away from those smelly buses and even farther away from smelly cyclists.

      Only lately has that propaganda begun to be undermined by the development industry with their own message of great transit, walkability and easy cycling. A baguette in the basket. This does not resonate with a large and mainly older demographic. Your couple. They see great, compact, vibrant urban centres as places that only exist while on vacation. They cling to their cars and refuse to be a part of our shift from small burg to vibrant city with improving transit.

      But they love it.

      Over there.

  5. Wiki reports 51.8% of the Vancouver population is a member of a ‘visible’ minority, as of 2011.

    Most residents are not local.

    The point is that Vancouver has nice little metro system (65 metro systems around the world have more stations), with a ridership that is 79th in the world in terms of numbers of people using the system.

    Vancouver has just one (1) suburban rail line, with eight stations. So cute.

    That couple are now in Berlin where there are 15 suburban rail lines, with 166 stations over a 331 km system. Or, they can take a subway, there are 173 stations covering 151 km. But, the population is only half as much again as metro Vancouver.

    Is it really any wonder that people drive in Vancouver?

    1. The latest numbers from city hall indicate that Vancouver has achieved a 50% commuter mode share with people who choose not to drive a car. That is a major increase over the last decade. The actual stats do not support your pro-car stance in Vancouver.

      Chronic underfunding of transit does have an unfortunate legacy here. That is more a function of having a pro-freeway provincial government in power for 16 years. That has changed.

    2. Ginny, you can be a visible minority AND a local. The majority of people in our region were born in Canada. On top of which any adult who has been here since before they were ten or for more than two decades for that matter is as good as local. They’ve been fed the same culture of motordom.

      Just how is building more ten lane bridges and sprawling across farm land going to get us toward where European cities are?

      Cute!

  6. As good a place as any for a motordom mentality anecdote.
    I met a guy at work many years ago who had been crippled in his Mustang fastback – one leg became an ornament. He collected big on insurance. During rehab, a nurse fell in love with him. She didn’t turn his crank but, as they say, any port in a storm.
    With some of his insurance cash, he opened an autobody repair shop. How’s that for a metaphor.
    Acquired one of those old dodges with a Hurst shifter – planned to operate the clutch with a crutch. And guess what kind of a car he was looking for? A Mustang fastback.
    More painful irony – he bought an ICBC write-off and got it on the road, but it wasn’t quite right. They never are.
    He gave the car to his nurse friend. She died in it.

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