I love this community. That statement sums up my political leaning and agenda in the most concise manner I can offer. That is enough about me.
The focus of my first column is a mega project that can arguably be considered the most detrimental waste of public funds since the BC NDP decided we need to reach Vancouver Island faster.
People have said the $3.5-billion George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project is already decided and I am wasting my time; they might be right. However, what I ask is nothing more than the consideration, due process and reasonable expectations that anyone should ask of any government acting on their behalf. If that is too much to ask, we have all lost.
Since the project first appeared (fully formed, it seemed) on the landscape, the government has not wavered in its plan to begin construction in 2017. That date was chosen without public consultation, without environmental review, without a costed business case and without any justification. In fact, we are still missing a lot of the information required to make an informed decision. To say the provincial government jumped the gun is an insult to understatements.
If a 10-lane, tolled bridge is such a good idea, why has the provincial government worked so hard to avoid public oversight? If a bridge were a good idea, why does Delta have the only mayor in the province who supports a bridge while the honest questions of community leaders like Ian Robertson, Vicki Huntington, Doug Massey, Harold Steves, Stephen Rees and Jim Wright go unanswered? I cannot square that circle and the entire project is rife with similar incongruities.
The shroud surrounding the bridge points to a clear lack of accountability and $3.5 billion being spent on another unnecessary super project.
Does traffic at the George Massey Tunnel require a solution? Absolutely. But the B.C. Liberals and the Gateway Council had a solution in 2006 that would cost less than $800 million: another submerged tunnel. That makes a bridge more than four times more expensive.
I love this community, but I fear the isolation that will come with a tolled bridge. It will eliminate South Delta's traditional north-south travel corridor and cost families thousands of dollars per year.
There are dozens of similarly disturbing concerns looming in the background of the slogan, "Canada Starts Here." Dear Ministry of Transportation: "Here" is my home. If you want to spend more than $3.5 billion to dredge the river deeper so the port can get larger vessels up the Fraser, I want a clear statement of intent and I want to know why it is worth sacrificing the best place on Earth.
The research has been done by dedicated members of our community. It is time for the provincial government and Delta Municipal Hall to listen to truth and reason.
My sincerest thanks to you, Ted Murphy, Ian Robertson and everyone who helped make this possible.
Supporting details can be found in my 18 page report hosted at nicholaswong.ca.
Born and raised in the greatest place on Earth, Nicholas Wong is a 26-year-old political junkie who often wonders what's "Wong" in Delta.