An architectural model of the Massey Bridge. (James Smith photo)

An architectural model of the Massey Bridge. (James Smith photo)

Massey Tunnel replacement debate spinning its wheels

Emotions are high but arguments on all sides have been reduced to overly-simple soundbites

I have now restarted this column so many times that I’m starting to wonder what I was hoping to accomplish by writing it.

Initially, I wanted to look at how the rationales both for and against the 10-lane bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel have been repeated and simplified to the point that most — if not all — nuance has been lost. Headlines and one-line sound bites have become the full story as far as many people are concerned, facts be damned.

The original point of this column was to say that everyone needs to step back, take a deep breath, cool it on the rhetoric and re-acquaint themselves with the details of both the project and the arguments for and against it. You know, try to gain some perspective on things.

At least, that was the plan.

Before sitting down to write this column, and in preparation for a yet-to-be-written article re-examining the arguments for and against the project, I sat down with Greg Moore, Metro Vancouver board chair and mayor of Port Coquitlam.

Moore stressed that the mayors weren’t opposed to the Massey Tunnel replacement project as a whole, but rather the size of it. In a nutshell, 10 lanes is too big and not in line with TransLink’s 10-year transportation plan.

He said the mayors want the province to work with Metro Vancouver and TransLink to come up with a solution that takes into account the regional impact of the project.

Sounds good, I thought, get everyone on the same page and work towards a common goal. I should write a column about that.

The next day, Thursday, July 27, Delta sent out a press release saying the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation had defeated a motion from Mayor Lois Jackson to allow Delta’s Chief Administrative Officer George Harvie to speak about the Massey Tunnel replacement project “and the opportunity for the Highway 99 corridor to benefit from $500 million in transit improvements,” on the grounds that it is a provincial initiative and outside their mandate.

“I don’t think we should spend time at TransLink dealing with issues that are outside of our jurisdiction,” Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan is quoted as saying in the press release.

I wasn’t there, but a colleague who was said that’s more or less how it went down. So what are we to make of it?

If the mayors want the province to consider the impacts of the proposed bridge on transportation in the region, shouldn’t the regional transportation authority have a least a cursory conversation about the province’s investment in a major piece of transportation infrastructure?

If Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena does sit down with the mayors, shouldn’t they have some kind of preferred course of action ratified and ready to show her? That’s hard to do if the mayors refuse to even discuss the project.

Mayor Jackson has repeatedly said the bridge has become a political issue and that the “boys club” at Metro Vancouver and the TransLink Mayor’s Council has shut down any meaningful debate about the project in favour of focusing on pet projects like the Broadway SkyTrain extension and Surrey LRT.

Jackson’s comments may be coloured by her frustration at having to lobby alone for a project she believes is right for the region and until election night thought was a sure thing, but if the Mayors’ Council really wanted to disprove her allegations and prove they were ready to collaborate with the province, they just blew a heck of an opportunity to do so.

So, that said, what’s the point of this column? Same as it ever was, I guess: don’t believe the hype (even from me). Go back to the source and make your own informed decision about what’s best for Delta, for Metro Vancouver and for B.C.

That way if the Mayor’s Council or the ministry of transportation and infrastructure, or even your friends and neighbours, come asking for your opinion, you can offer it confident that you actually know what you’re talking about, and that no one else is talking through you.

James Smith is the editor of the North Delta Reporter.

Just Posted

Ian MacDonald, spokesman for Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Police Service launches public consultation campaign

This is to help the SPS form its first strategic plan

Outdoor vendors at the Cloverdale Flea Market are seen in this bird’s eye view image from the flea market’s Facebook page.
Cloverdale Flea Market to reopen

Market to open June 20 after being closed since Nov. 2020

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
Surrey RCMP looking for missing boy, age 13

Steven Vail was last seen at 8 a.m. after arriving at Frank Hurt Secondary but did not show up for his 8:30 a.m. class.

teaser photo only.
Surrey ‘POP!’ series promises ‘Performances Outdoors in Parks’ this summer

Ticketed concerts, theatre shows and other events start July 9

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council endorses ‘public engagement’ strategy

Council approves ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

A 34-year-old man was arrested Monday after Transit Police found him riding a SkyTrain with a shotgun in the front of his sweatpants. (Transit Police)
SkyTrain passenger arrested, charged for concealing shotgun in his sweatpants

Codty-James Gray, 34, was found with ammunition, brass knuckles and knives

Most Read