RICHMOND, BC – Opposition to a bridge replacing Metro Vancouver’s George Massey Tunnel is gathering steam with a rally to protest the planned 10-lane, $3.5 billion project outside a public open house on Tuesday. Citizens and environmentalists are citing a list of problems with the proposal, ranging from environmental impacts to the gross misuse of public funds.
Many farmers oppose the project because it would result in the destruction of a prime agricultural corridor. Richmond City Council has raised concerns about resulting traffic bottlenecks and food security, and recently passed a motion opposing the bridge proposal.
Bridge opponents are also concerned that adding more space for cars on the road will increase greenhouse gas emissions.
“Building brand new highways in an era of climate change is crazy,” said Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner at the Wilderness Committee. “What we need is a vision for public transit and walkable communities. The BC government needs to get out of the 60s and join the 21st century.”
Traffic volumes through the tunnel have not increased in a decade, and public transit alternatives could ease congestion for a fraction of the price. Many taxpayers are concerned that the already hefty price tag for the project could run far over, especially because the proposed bridge would be built over deep, unstable sediments.
Metro Vancouver planners have warned that the project could undermine the region’s aim to reduce driving distances and see half of all trips by 2030 made by walking, cycling and transit.
“The Massey bridge project affects everyone in Metro Vancouver, and does not co-align with the progressive planning views the region is known for and rightly proud of,” said Lara Therrien Boulos, President of the UBC Planning Student Association. “The project appears to be a significant step back in the continued development of the region’s transportation network and does little to address increasing vehicle congestion and longer commute times.”
The public open house hosted by the BC government runs today from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Sandman Signature Hotel Vancouver Airport in Richmond (10251 St. Edwards Drive). Local residents and environmentalists will gather to express opposition to the project outside the hotel beginning at 4:30 p.m.