DELTA Mayor George V. Harvie, reacting to Monday’s announcement by Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, regarding the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, issued a statement calling for all those involved to expedite the process for building a business case.
Harvie said: “Replacing the George Massey Tunnel remains a top priority for myself and Delta Council. I appreciate Minister Trevena contacting me last week to give me a heads up about the Province’s next steps for this project. I’m also pleased to see the Province’s plans to implement safety improvements at the Tunnel as an interim measure.”
“Based on my experience and the Province’s anticipated timeline of fall 2020 to develop a business case, this creates a completely unacceptable timeframe for our residents and businesses. This is why I will be asking [Richmond] Mayor [Malcolm] Brodie, [Surrey] Mayor [Doug] McCallum, [White Rock] Mayor [Darryl] Walker and First Nation Chiefs Williams [Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Bryce Williams] and Sparrow [Musqueam First Nation Chief Wayne Sparrow] to come together to explore options for expediting the process. The people south of the Fraser are not prepared to wait 8 to 9 years for an improvement to their quality of life and daily commute. We need to do everything possible to push the government to implement a solution so that we can reduce this traffic bottleneck well in advance of the current anticipated timeframe.”
“I am agnostic to the ultimate solution to the Tunnel, but I’m eager to get one implemented. As Delta’s Mayor, I am seeking the following assurances from the BC Government regarding the George Massey Tunnel Replacement:
“* That this project does not take any additional agricultural land from Delta;
“* That the Provincial government conduct a full environmental assessment on this project;
“* That this project includes dedicated rapid bus lanes and enhanced transit at the onset with the option for bus lanes to be converted to light rail in the future; and
“* That the Province implement a robust solution that not only addresses existing congestion, but meets the long-term transportation needs to serve the region for the next 50 plus years.
“Part of the solution is to get people out of their cars and using public transit. The citizens and businesses of Delta continue to be underserved by transit – we need reliable and efficient bus service to this area to reduce the number of vehicles on our roadways and highways. The current congestion around the tunnel continues to negatively impact the quality of life for commuters and the movement of goods across the region. I look forward to working with my counterparts on the development of a sustainable long-term solution.”