The Council of Canadians Delta-Richmond chapter and allies disrupted the groundbreaking ceremony featuring B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone intended to mark the beginning of the construction of the Massey Bridge, April 5, 2017.
The Council of Canadians Vancouver-Burnaby chapter has re-tweeted an op-ed published in The Province that highlights how $4 billion could be better spent than on a 10-lane bridge that has been described as a climate crime.
The op-ed — by Victoria chapter activist and transportation consultant Eric Doherty and allies Bob Chitrenky, Peter McCartney and Harold Steves — highlights, “There are many reasons why so many people and 20 out of 21 area mayors oppose the proposed $3.5-billion bridge. The fact that the project is certain to worsen traffic jams on the bridges between Richmond and Vancouver is one, the cost of the project is another and the loss of farmland is a third. But perhaps the biggest reason is that investing billions in an unnecessary bridge deepens our dependency on car travel at a time when many would rather take public transit — if only it were available where we live and work.”
They add, “The more we deepen that dependency, the greater our collective losses will be. We lose quality of life and affordability in a region that is already grotesquely unaffordable. We lose more of our depleted farmland base and we lose down the road as greenhouse gases rise and we are forced to spend billions more on future public infrastructure projects, such as raising the dykes to counter rising sea levels.”
Doherty, Chitrenky, McCartney and Steves then ask, “If we are to spend $4 billion of public funds (don’t for a moment think that the projected cost of the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge won’t increase — such costs invariably do) what else might we do?”
They answer, “For a relatively modest $1.32 billion, we could expand our fleet of buses in the Lower Mainland or across B.C. by a whopping 750 vehicles. Assuming a 35-per-cent recovery in operating costs from transit fares, we could operate that expanded fleet for 10 years. For another $1.3-billion we could upgrade or replace all 152 schools that pose the highest danger to students in an earthquake. And, in a region crying out for massive increases in available cheaper housing, we could build another 5,520 affordable housing units for a projected $1.38 billion.”
They conclude, “As we said at the outset, there are numerous problems associated with the provincial government’s surprise announcement that it is going ahead with a bridge that many Lower Mainland residents do not want. But perhaps the biggest problem with that decision is that members of the public never got the opportunity to have a discussion to which they are so richly entitled.”
To read the full op-ed, please click here.
To follow the Vancouver-Burnaby chapter on Twitter, go to @VanCofCDNs