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Massey Tunnel Replacement Bridge:
Do we feel the process has been fair, transparent and meaningful? Do we feel the province has made a case for this mega 3.5 BILLION dollar new bridge? Does this project take us in the right direction? Do we feel that the significant cost for the Massey Tunnel replacement Bridge will render a major improvement to the transportation system in Metro Vancouver?
The answer to all these questions is NO.
If this bridge is built it will require most of our tax dollars and take us back 40 years in term of getting a light rapid system to Delta and Surrey. This bridge will be a monument to the automobile and do the opposite of what we want, rather than taking people out of their cars, it will encourage them to drive their cars.
Any modern progressive city has a effective transportation system of bus and rail that moves people quickly and effectively, If Metro Vancouver is to be a world class city we need a light rail system that mirrors other significant cities like London. New York, and Copenhagen. Our electric trains are better for the environment and should be expanded to corridors with high ridership such as south of the Fraser river and the Broadway run.
Our Governments needs to understand that the primary purpose of the south Fraser river crossings should be moving traffic NOT shipping and NOT industrialization of the river.
Please demonstrate to the Federal and Provincial governments that we expect smart decisions that are based on facts and not hidden agenda’s.
These newspapers stories remind us of the original plans, which I feel made a lot more sense, lets get back to basics and do this right.
We are still waiting for the official plans from the provincial government but after a luncheon with Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure ,Todd Stone the City of Richmond sent this letter.
During the luncheon I asked the minister if saving the Massey Tunnel was an option and pointed out that the only reason to remove it was the industrialization of the Fraser river, the answer was noncommittal but I was very pleased that this point was added to a letter from the city to the Minister.
Please write your MLA’s and ask them to save the tunnel for electric cars, Rapid Transit, buses, emergency vehicle, bikes and ???? The tunnel has a future and we need to convince the provincial government of that.
The George Massey Tunnel replacement project was endorsed by Richmond City Council on June 26, 2014 in a letter to the Minister of Transportation Todd Stone. In a City of Richmond staff report, staff state concerns that a new bridge could just move the congestion from the Massey tunnel to the south end of the Oak st. bridge Staff also reports that a new interchange for Blundell road has been part of the official Community plan since 1999 and they expect it to be part of the new bridge proposal. Port Metro Vancouver also states in their letter that they encourage the Ministry to explore the option of an interchange at Blundell to allow for a better trucking route. The Blundell area residents have previously expressed strong opposition to an on ramp and/or off ramp at Blundell and hwy 99 and their concerns are not part of the staff report.
City staff also indicate that the bridge would likely be tolled and they have concerns about the tolling methods used by the province since they tend to shift traffic to crossings that are free to use, such as the Alex Fraser bridge. History has shown that the new Port Mann bridge has resulted in shifting of traffic to the Pattulo bridge causing traffic issues in New Westminster. The Golden ears bridge has been under utilized due to a hefty toll.
Staff has also stated that they want clarification of the travel numbers since the Ministries report claims that 50 % of tunnel traffic is destined for Richmond, this number is being questioned. Staff also say that the new bridge will likely allow for 8 to 10 lanes and they need clarification on how those lanes will be used because that information is critical since it could help with rapid transit or subsequently impede it. The Oak st. bridge is only four lanes and the bottle neck of traffic could cause major delays for truckers, travelers and others trying to access YVR. The economy of the lower mainland depends on reasonable access to YVR so this potentially grid lock of traffic could negatively affect business at YVR.
The City states that the design should be architecturally impressive to signify it as an iconic bridge, but does the city represent the feeling of the people of Richmond ? These and many other concerns need to be addressed before the City of Richmond moves forward with any project or the destruction of the Massey tunnel.
A concern for RITE Richmond is that Port Metro Vancouver in the their letter to the City of Richmond makes an argument that the Fraser River is as significant to the Canadian economy as the St Lawrence seaway. While it is important to have economic growth, ultimately the new bridge would result in industrializing both sides of the Fraser River and threatening the most important Salmon run in the world along with threatening the tourism industry in Steveston.
The Massey Tunnel Replacement Project requires more accurate information, before forever changing the landscape of Richmond. Many people have indicated support for another crossing but want to keep the Massey tunnel in place for future use as a corridor potentially for rapid transit or other forms of transportation. RITE Richmond has stated the only reason to remove the Massey Tunnel is to industrialize both sides of the Fraser River and that is not acceptable. More work needs to be done to find solutions to deal with traffic grid lock at the tunnel and at the same time protect the Fraser river. Another crossing could be the solution but the location of that crossing should involve more public input, and we need to explore better rapid transit options.
The Massey Tunnel replacement project that Premier Christy Clark has announced should be further studied because we, the people of Richmond have not been heard. There is only one reason to remove the Massey Tunnel and that is to allow for super tankers to sail to the Surrey docks. Removing the tunnel and dredging the river would change forever the landscape of Richmond and put our shoreline at risk. Other proposals such as building a new bridge that could align with the new perimeter road, the Nelson Road over pass and Boundary road should be given strong consideration. The Massey tunnel could be used as is or in the future could become a corridor for rapid transit, electric cars and other environmentally friendly options.
Now is the time for Richmond City Council to ask for more time to consider all the options and make recommendations based on actual public input and scientific research. This is no time to rush into decisions we will regret later. While the City has no authority over the decisions made by the provincial government it does have the ability to raise concerns and suggest other options.
The Project should require a Federal Environmental review due to the threat of Liquefaction which can be caused by earth quakes and or dredging.
Joe Peschisolido is hoping a meeting between the federal and provincial Liberal parties will answer his concerns with $3.5 billion project
ALAN CAMPBELL / RICHMOND NEWS
JANUARY 5, 2016 04:56 PM
Richmond’s newest MP is confident a meeting next week between the federal and provincial Liberal parties will answer his questions about the $3.5 billion toll bridge, set to replace the Massey Tunnel.
Joe Peschisolido, who was elected to the new Steveston-Richmond East seat last October, said he has concerns for the environmental footprint of the ten-lane, 3.5-kilometre span, construction of which is due to begin in 2017 and finish in 2022.
One of the pre- and post-election pledges Peschisolido and the Trudeau government made was to strengthen the federal environmental review process, which has been widely regarded as being watered down and weakened during former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s reign.
Peschisolido has been told that the federal environment ministry is now fully focused on following through with that promise and expects to see some action within the next month or two.
However, the Steveston-Richmond East MP wants to wait until he’s spoken personally to the man at the forefront of the project — B.C. transport minister Todd Stone — and counterparts across the river in Delta before making his opinions public.
“I haven’t been involved in any discussion as yet, either with Todd Stone or anyone else, and I haven’t even seen the full project (description) yet,” said Peschisolido on Monday.
Steveston-Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido
“I plan to sit down with (Richmond) MLAs John Yap and Linda Reid to discuss the issue and there is a meeting next Monday (between the caucuses), of which I will be a part of. I’m sure at that meeting we will be talking about the Massey Tunnel project.”
Peschisolido said he’s standing by his pre-election pledge to bolster the federal environmental review process, which, as it stands, is a “harmonized” operation, run primarily, in this province, by the government’s B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO).
“The (federal environment) ministry has been pre-occupied with the talk in Paris until recently. But we will very soon be getting down to it and we will be looking at existing projects and how our (new) proposals will apply to these projects,” he added.
Whether any such revamp of the environmental review process arrives in time to affect the “Massey Bridge” remains to be seen, as environmental studies for the project have been underway since 2014.
And, according to the “project definition report,” there are plans to submit an environmental assessment application to the BCEAO early this year.
The third and final phase of public consultation on the project is now underway and runs to Jan. 28. More details on how to participate are available online at masseytunnel.ca.
Once public consultation is over, the B.C. government will submit the project application for environmental review, which is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
In terms of funding the bridge, Peschisolido said the federal government, as far as he’s aware, has not had any conversations with the B.C. government with regard to possible funding models.
The City of Richmond was conspicuous by its absence at last month’s project unveiling — in Richmond — which featured, along with Stone, an MP and mayor from across the river in Delta.
Richmond’s mayor, Malcolm Brodie, has been critical of the project from the outset, but was bemused by the apparent snub.
Asked this week why the City of Richmond wasn’t invited, a ministry spokesperson would only say that the city was given an “in-depth technical briefing” of the project two weeks prior to the announcement last month.
Stone told the News last month that, with regard to concerns over the loss of farmland in Richmond from the bridge building, there would actually be a “net gain” to farmland in the city.
However, when the News asked where these gains would come from, the ministry was unable to give specifics at this time.
Richmond’s Otto Langer, a former Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist and critic of the current environmental review process, previously listed a five-point plan for strengthening federal environmental reviews:
1. Restore habitat protection provisions in the Fisheries Act.
2. Upgrade habitat enforcement capabilities for DFO staff.
3. Restore the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to facilitate more scientific review and public input.
4. Remove PMV from any authority to conduct environmental reviews
5. Develop a national energy policy focused on fossil fuel divestment.
The Massey Bridge, when built, will be the biggest of its kind in B.C.’s history.
After not being invited to the unveiling, Brodie said he still has many unanswered questions about the project, namely concern over northbound traffic backing up even more at the Oak Street Bridge and tolling of the new bridge leading to more congestion on Highway 91 and on the Alex Fraser Bridge.
Brodie also questioned how the bridge project became the province’s top project, “rather than fixing public transit across the region.”
Although the toll rate is still to be determined, Stone said it would be comparable with the Port Mann Bridge pricing, which is $3.15 per crossing.