First off, I’d like to congratulate Claire Trevena for her fourth term as an MLA for our wonderful province of British Columbia.
That being said, there are already a few issues coming up – namely the Massey Tunnel and the proposed replacement project that was squashed upon the NDP arrival into government.
“One of the reasons we removed tolls … [is] because we thought this was going to be a way” to reduce congestion, as the current Minister of Transportation, Claire Trevena, states in her September 13, 2017 comment in the BC Legislature. What then would the Honorable Minister say to the, in her words, “38 percent increase in traffic [in the Lower Mainland]” directly caused by removing tolls?
In my opinion, the very thing that was meant to bring about decreased congestion (no tolls), or in other words less traffic, had actually done the opposite. She goes on to say that “[t]he mayors for Metro Vancouver have a vision for their communities. Only one mayor believed that the bridge was the right fit.”
The Massey Tunnel is technically owned by the BC Toll Highways and Bridge Authority and Ministry of Transportation. While consultation is necessary with municipalities immediately affected – Richmond and Delta since it connects the two – it is the BC government that has the responsibility of deciding. Arguably if any Metro Vancouver mayors’ opinion matters, the Richmond and Delta mayors are the only ones that should have discussions.
As it currently stands, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson argues in favor of the new bridge. All that aside, it is written explicitly in the Constitution Act, 1867 that all matters of transportation, highways, and the likes are to be handled by provinces, not the federal government nor municipalities. Why then is the Minister so insistent on municipal input when it is solely BC government’s onus to decide?
Funny enough, Trevena claims that the proposed ten-lane bridge would lead to “gridlock.” I think it preposterous to assert that a ten-lane highway would lead to traffic jams – what as opposed to the current two-lane, each way? Again, that’s a hard point to argue – that a ten-lane bridge, compared to the two-lane bridge, would lead to gridlock. I’d like to think that it would ease flow of traffic, what with all the lanes and such.
The icing on the cake of course is that while fighting for less congestion and avoiding “gridlock,” the Minister stands in favor to the very thing that increased, by 38 percent mind you, traffic to the area. Wouldn’t you say that 38 percent increase in traffic is what causes traffic jams, and not more highway lanes?
Why does any of this matter, you’re thinking – since it doesn’t affect Port Hardy – well, it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump away to Ladner (some of you might even have family near there). It’s also our tax dollars that are going to fund whatever decision the NDP government makes on the matter. And it’s our North Island MLA representative also known as the now Minister of Transportation who participated in gutting the replacement project.
Thomas Kervin is a recent political science alumnus from Simon Fraser University. He was born and raised in Port Hardy. He’s also a First Nations person who wants to address issues facing Indigenous communities today.