Sandor Gyarmati with the Delta Optimist reported on rookie MLA Liberal Ian Paton being called out on his continuing positional diatribe about the Massey Crossing. Mr. Paton also famously double dipped by keeping his position as a councillor with the City of Delta when he became a rookie MLA, saying he was doing the right thing for both subsets of constituents.
Instead of collaborating with the Mayors’ Council on alternatives to the Massey Crossing, Mr. Paton positionally went out and stuck signs in 2017 by the tunnel entrance blaming the congestion on the NDP government in power. Of course there is back story to that too. Paton’s signs are placed on property owned by Ron Toigo of White Spot fame, who got that property fast tracked and rezoned at Delta Council for a casino in 2018, which will take full advantage of the over fifteen percent of Delta population that is senior.
But back to Mr. Paton. He and another Liberal MLA rookie,Richmond-Queensborough’s Jas Johal have been telling media that the proposed oversized multi-billion dollar bridge that was planned for the Massey crossing was dismissed because of politics from the current NDP provincial government, and that no new crossing would be available for over a decade.
In a very unusual step, Premier John Horgan made the following statement:
“To Mr. Paton, I’m disappointed. As a new member who is respected in the community, I would expect him to be less partisan and more focused on solutions. Mr. Johal has made a business out of making stuff up and he continues down that course. I’ve got nothing but contempt for his approach to politics. I think Ian understands we need to work together to solve the problems, not just here with respect to congestion at Massey, but a whole range of other issues. We’re not about politics at all, we’re about solutions for people and that’s been our focus from the beginning”.
“The Liberals just want to do politics all the time. The reason they were unsuccessful in the last election is because it was always about politics. They never talked about the issues that mattered to people, and that’s what we’ve been doing since we were elected. The notion that they dictated what was the best solution for congestion at Massey without doing any consultation led to the problem we had in the first place.”
That statement of the Premier points to documentation provided by the previous Liberal Provincial government leapfrogging over potential tunnel solutions and somehow landing on a ten lane multi-billion dollar bridge that would impact the sensitive Fraser River and estuary, and lead to congestion on the Richmond side of the bridge. Last week as the tunnel celebrated 60 years of existence, the Premier indicated that consensus with the Mayors’ Council on a tunnel twinning project that would have six lanes for vehicles and two lanes for public transit meant the new crossing could be expedited. Transport Canada has a National Corridors Fund and it is hoped that such funding could be accessed for a deep bored tunnel.
The Provincial government has a 2020 deadline for the final decision on the type of new crossing for this location. No word yet if that deadline will be move up with the Mayors’ Council agreeing on a tunnelled approach.