Delta mayoral candidate George Harvie is pledging to push for the province to move forward with construction of a new bridge across the Fraser River.
Noting it has been one year since the provincial government’s “cancellation” of the George Massey Tunnel replacement project, Harvie said that if elected he will advocate for all levels of government to step up and get the bridge back on track.
“How much longer will Delta residents have to endure an unsafe and unhealthy daily commute?” Harvie said in a press release. “Every single day I hear this issue on the doorsteps — families are frustrated by the province’s lack of action on a new crossing, and from being late for dance class or sports practice, to missing important appointments, it’s affecting their quality of life.
“Doing nothing is not an option. That’s why as mayor, one of my top priorities will be getting to the table with the federal and provincial governments and a newly-elected Mayor’s Council to push for the replacement of the aging George Massey Tunnel.”
According to the provincial government’s project website, the tunnel is a key component of the regional and provincial transportation system, carrying an average of 80,000 vehicles each day. It was estimated the replacement project, which was put on hold Sept. 6, 2017 while an independent technical review of the project could be performed, would save commuters an average of 30 minutes per day and reduce collisions by 35 per cent.
In his press release, Harvie said the aging tunnel has deteriorated “to the point of crumbling” and that all that congestion around the crossing amounts to 1 million hours each year of idling traffic releasing harmful greenhouse emissions.
“Not only is this commute congested, unsafe, and environmentally harmful, it’s seriously affecting economic development in Delta. In order to attract workers and investment to our community, we need a safe, healthy and efficient flow of goods and people into the city,” Harvie said.
“That’s why Achieving for Delta is taking a strong stance on a bridge. This option will relieve one of the worst highway bottlenecks in Canada and save businesses and commuters millions of dollars in time lost due to congestion and travel delays. A bridge is also our best choice in protecting Delta’s Agricultural Land Reserve and will dramatically improve emergency response times and reduce vehicle collisions by 35 percent.”
Harvie also said he will press the provincial government for diversified transportation options on the replacement project to promote healthier low-carbon transit choices and move the region towards its sustainability goals.
“I have a proven record in working across government lines to deliver for the people of Delta and I’m prepared to do what it takes to move this project forward. On this one-year anniversary of the tunnel replacement cancellation, I’m asking for your support in securing a new George Massey Bridge. Delta residents deserve no less.”
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20, with advanced voting on Oct. 6, 10 and 11.