Metro Vancouver staff want more time to review plans for new Massey Bridge
When the B.C. government announced plans for a new 10-lane toll bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel, it was sold as a done deal.
But the province’s plan is meeting resistance as of late. On Wednesday, Metro Vancouver heard a staff recommendation that said they needed more time — at least two months — to assess the impact of the proposed $3.5-billion toll bridge.
“We control air quality in this region,” Greg Moore, the mayor of Port Coquitlam and chair of Metro Vancouver, said. “We also control parks that are underneath it. We control land-use planning throughout the region. Those are really big discussions. It isn’t just about replacing one asset right here. It has ramifications throughout a whole part of this region. ”
Deas Island Regional Park is one of many concerns. If the Massey Bridge is built, it will cast a huge shadow over the park’s foliage.
There is also the impact five years of heavy construction will have on everything from existing road networks and sewage and water mains, not to mention the ecosystem of the Fraser River, the world’s largest salmon-bearing estuary.
“Ultimately, it’s their road, it’s their decision,” Moore said. “But if they want meaningful public input, then we think we need some more time to do that.”
Transportation Minister Todd Stone was asked if he would be willing to give Metro Vancouver extra time but he would not commit.
“I would remind Metro [Vancouver] that the project has formally entered the environmental assessment process, which means that there will be two public comment periods this year that will also afford another opportunity for Metro Vancouver to provide its input,” he said.
Stone’s response suggests the timeline for the proposed bridge will remain as is.
The province hopes to begin construction on the bridge in 2017 and finish in 2022.
– With files from Ted Chernecki and Amy Judd
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