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WIN! BC government cancels construction on George Massey bridge project

The Council of Canadians is celebrating the British Columbia government’s decision to cancel construction on the proposed Massey Bridge in Metro Vancouver.

The Vancouver Sun reports, “British Columbia’s NDP government has cancelled construction of a bridge to replace the Massey tunnel, putting an end to former premier Christy Clark’s signature solution to traffic congestion at a key Metro choke point.” The CBC adds, “The government has cancelled the current procurement process for building the bridge while a review is undertaken.”

The Council of Canadians Delta-Richmond and Vancouver-Burnaby chapters have been opposing the bridge since March 2013. We were concerned about the loss of prime agricultural land to build the bridge, the additional greenhouse gas emissions that come with adding more space for cars (a ten-lane bridge replacing a four-lane tunnel), the government’s lack of commitment to public transit alternatives, and the bridge’s $3.5 billion price tag. We were also concerned that the proposed removal of the George Massey Tunnel could affect the salinity of the lower Fraser River.

Delta-Richmond chapter activist Cathy Wilander has stated, “NO BRIDGE!!!! It’s been years of many of us including Delta/Richmond chapter of the Council of Canadians activists picketing, leafleting, holding community events, media releases, standing and talking with people outside gov’t pro bridge events, sometimes we were in pouring rain, dealing with police etc etc. but IT”S DEAD!!!”

Among these many actions, the Delta-Richmond chapter disrupted the groundbreaking ceremony this past April intended to mark the beginning of the construction of the Massey Bridge. At that time, Global News reported, “The first shovels are expected to go in the ground this morning and protesters were on scene to have their say. The protesters gathered around the crew, using megaphones to make their voices heard.”

The Vancouver Sun highlights, “The NDP will start an ‘independent technical review’ to research the best solution for the aging George Massey tunnel…” The CBC adds, “[Transportation Minister Claire Trevena] said the review would consider whether the previous Liberal government’s plan for a 10-lane bridge would be the best option or if the solution is a smaller crossing, repairs to the existing tunnel, a twinned tunnel or a combination of those ideas.”

The review is expected to produce a report in the spring of 2018.

This past July, Victoria chapter activist Eric Doherty proposed in this Vancouver Sun op-ed several alternatives to the bridge:

1- “The first step for the B.C. NDP should be to help TransLink and the mayors provide what the B.C. Liberals promised, a major increase in bus service through the Massey Tunnel.”

2- “Completing the bus lanes to the Canada Line in Richmond is also essential to provide a desirable alternative to the Massey Bridge proposal.”

3- “Rail transit to Ladner and Tsawwassen, and to the North Shore, may be worthwhile next steps — but buses and SeaBuses work.”

4- “The much bigger step [Premier John] Horgan needs to take is to reorient transportation priorities across B.C. to reduce the climate pollution that is fuelling ever more destructive wildfires and floods.”

Congratulations to the Wilderness Committee, Fraser Voices, and numerous other organizations and individuals for their work to secure this win.

For numerous blogs on our website highlighting chapter actions in opposition to the bridge, please click here.

More photos!