May 29, 2018

$40,000 Sends Delta Mayor and Staff East to Plead for Massey Bridge

In the “you just can’t make this stuff up” department, City of Delta council has authorized a payment of $40,000 for Delta Mayor Lois Jackson and select staff to spend four days in Ottawa, followed by three days at a conference in Quebec City.
They’ll have just missed the National Capital’s Tulip Festival, but they’ll be there to demand, among other things, that the federal government just get on with building the Massey Bridge — Delta tax dollars hard at work.
Never mind that there is no funding in the provincial budget for this ten-lane, overbuilt and over-thought span, which would effectively seal the industrialization of this part of the Fraser River.

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Meanwhile South of the Fraser River where the 20th century rhetoric of motordom and industrialization reign supreme, Gateway Casinos soldiers on with a 70 million dollar casino to be plunked right beside the Delta side of the Massey Tunnel. But wait~Gateway Casinos insist this will “not be just about gambling but would provide an entertainment experience”. 
The property is owned by a company of Ron Toigo of White Spot. For motordom a new parking lot will be created with 800 parking spaces and 200,000 square feet built to accommodate gambling. The same Delta Mayor and City Council still insisting on their ten lane overbuilt Massey Bridge (with one double salary  dipping  provincial liberal MLA who also picks up a pay cheque as a Delta Councillor) still want their casino, located in a spot easily accessible by car. What a surprise. The 1960’s are alive and well in Delta.
The Delta Optimist  reports  “Gateway hopes to begin construction this fall with a grand opening in 2020. The project includes a five-storey, 116-room hotel, meeting space, eateries and a casino with 500 slots, 24 gaming tables and several e-tables. There would be room for further gaming expansion.In a statement, the company notes the community throughout the process has been very engaged and provided valuable feedback that will continue to shape the look and feel of the project.”
It is a bit odd that the language used about the casino is very similar to the language used about the one-sided process to “engage” the community about the last Provincial government’s multi billion dollar Massey Bridge. Regardless, the Delta Mayor and Council have agreed to fast track this proposal, which will provide Delta with an additional two to three million dollars annually with their casino “cut”.
As Gateway casino states this will “grow the community’s economy” by
creating new well-paying jobs in Delta while improving the entertainment and hospitality option in the community…“There is great potential in Delta and a Gateway entertainment destination, with a number of gaming and non-gaming attractions, on the Town and Country site would allow Delta to significantly advance its tourism strategy and deliver on the tourism objectives set out in the strategy.”
Imagine if a seniors’ centre or new rental housing was fast tracked with such enthusiasm or as quickly as this casino is. Despite all the bad news emerging about where casino money is actually from, the City of Delta  hopes to have this casino before Council this month. If you can’t industrialize the Fraser River , you can  still plunk casinos on it.
So last century.

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From the CBC:

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson questioned why the provincial government couldn’t get federal funding for the Pattullo Bridge replacement as well.
“Normally major infrastructure projects have a large component of federal financing. So we have to be concerned that B.C. rushed into this alone, and missed out on almost a half billion dollars of federal infrastructure funding,” he said.

Do tell us how much the federal government had committed to the Massey crossing when it was pulled out of the air by Premier Clark in 2013.  Or whether in subsequent years the Feds ever committed a loonie to its construction.
And while you’re at it, please explain:

  • What regional plan included the construction of Massey?
  • How many Metro mayors in the region supported it?
  • What provincial transportation plan prioritized it?
  • Why the previous transportation minister, Kevin Falcon, had rejected it as a pointless project?
  • Why the Liberals imposed a referendum requirement only for transit and not for Massey or any other major highway project?

Do tell.

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Despite all you have been reading in the Vancouver Sun and other media sources about casinos and money laundering, the City of Delta is going full steam ahead with their application for a casino “entertainment complex” with 162,678 square feet, 47,000 square feet of which will be the new casino. This new addition to gambling will be located on the site of the Delta Town and Country Inn (owned by Ron Toigo of White Spot)  with a total of 800 parking spaces for customers.
As reported in the Delta Optimist there are a series of open houses with representatives from Gateway Casinos and the B.C. Lottery Corporation present. The casino in Richmond is not too happy either, thinking that their clientele will drive to this new location on the Delta side of the Massey Tunnel.  At the first open house the public wanted to know how this 70 million dollar gambling facility would impact traffic. And they also wanted to know why this was being built if there was no decision on upgrading the Massey crossing yet.
The City of Delta had estimated that they will glean up to two million dollars as their cut from the gambling. But last week the lottery corporation  “estimates revenue coming to Delta will be at the top end of its initial $1.5 million to $3 million projection based on the casino opening with 500 slot machines, a figure BCLC  has termed as a conservative estimate. The proposed Delta casino would be built to house up to 600 slot machines to accommodate potential future growth.” You can find out more about Delta’s new casino at the City of Delta’s website here.
There are also two more meetings coming up  Feb. 7 at the Sungod Recreation Centre in North Delta and Feb. 8 at the Harris Barn in Ladner from 4 to 8 p.m. A ‘multi-civic committee meeting” will be held on February 15 at 7 p.m. at the same location .It appears that this casino application is being fast tracked and will be before council in April with the public hearing scheduled for May.

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Doug Massey the son of George Massey (for whom the Massey Tunnel is named) spoke on radio regarding the memo and report prepared on options for the Massey Tunnel.  Mr. Massey had asked the previous provincial government in a Freedom of Information Request for information on potential options for a submersive tunnel. Mr. Massey received no information from his inquiry.  However  the report has now been released under the new Provincial government and the new Minister of Transportation, Claire Trevena. You can read the  April of 2013 TEC (Tunnel Engineering Consultants)  60 page presentation to Provincial staff here.
Massey TEC 4 april R2
The presentation from TEC includes an introduction to the Tunnel Engineering Consultants, some of their work (they are one of the leaders in tunnel technology in the world), specific observations on the Massey Tunnel, an outline of issues and considerations, and a section for “discussion”.
Despite what the previous Provincial government has said, this presentation notes that submersive tunnels can be safer than open highways, with separation of traffic flows, an escape gallery and good design and traffic control and management systems. The presentation highlighted the Busan and Geoje Island bridge/tunnel fixed link in South Korea, which is an eight kilometers long and is one of the deepest tunnels in the world because of a  major navigational channel. With  unfavourable ground, wave action and seismic conditions new techniques were used to create this tunnel which has been in successful operation since 2010.

In examining the Massey Tunnel, TEC looked at the various options for placing a new submersive tunnel. Those options included maintaining the existing crossing, replacing the crossing with a new tunnel or a bridge, maintaining the tunnel and building a bridge or new tunnel, and also maintaining the tunnel and building a new crossing in a new location. TEC prepared cross-section layouts, and looked at options for the future use of the existing tunnel. TEC recommended the use of a type of  tunnel similar to that used in the Femern tunnel providing an 18 kilometer submersive tunnel between Demark and Germany.
As described in the previous memo on Price Tags Vancouver, Provincial government staff saw this presentation and this submersive tunnel technology as an “eye opener”. There are however no cost estimates contained in this documentation to give a sense of the costs of building this tunnel, or what the thought process was for the Province to have dismissed this option.

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