Metro Vancouver is moving closer to asking the federal government to take a hard look at the proposed bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel.
A regional district committee has voted to ask the Metro Vancouver board to officially request the Feds put the bridge plan under its own environmental assessment.
Speaking to the committee, Vancouver Councillor Raymond Louie says the bridge does not meet the Trudeau government’s mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and is calling for environment minister Catherine McKenna to step in.
“Rather than adding to the equation, which I believe that this piece of infrastructure would do, that she would look at it more carefully through that lens and determine whether or not its appropriate for her government to be investing in this fashion.”
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Metro Vancouver chair Greg Moore says a committee motion to ask for a federal environmental assessment of the bridge will likely be passed by the board.
Moore says they have also asked the province for more time to review the impacts the bridge would have.
“But what are the overall impacts on the region, what effects will this have on putting pressure on very valuable farmland in Delta and Surrey and potentially Richmond? what effects will it have on air quality? what effects will it have on how people move around the region and our regional park that’s underneath the bridge?”
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart says we need to keep repeating the question, “You’re building a bridge to where?”, adding either the region does planning or the Provincial Government does.
District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton says it’s important the regional district avoid being seen as engaging in a fight with the B.C. Government over the bridge plan.
The move comes on the heels of a request from Richmond’s council for the Ottawa to conduct an environmental assessment on the project.
Richmond Councillors claim FOI documents prove the province is using the tunnel replacement as an excuse to dredge the river to improve access for heavy commercial shipping.
The mayor of Richmond is cautiously optimistic about Metro Vancouver joining his city in asking for a federal environmental review.
Malcolm Brodie says Richmond doesn’t oppose the bridge but it is certainly upset about a lack of answers.
“How the towing policy is going to impact the situation, what is the role of the Port? and how big is that a factor in this entire situation, how are they going to address the northbound traffic congestion. There has never been any suggestion about improvements to the Oak street bridge or the 9th street bridge.”