Construction on the Massey Tunnel replacement project is officially underway, though not before a ‘groundbreaking’ ceremony was crashed by protesters.
The event was supposed to start at 9:30 a.m., outdoors, and near an old fire hall, but demonstrators with signs and megaphones descended on the scene forcing the ceremony indoors.
B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone says the plan has been talked about for five years and is desperately needed.
“If we’re not investing in the upgrades that are needed to address the congestion today, how the heck do people expect that we’re going to be ready for the million more people that are coming over the next 20 years?”
But one Richmond councillor thinks the project will just push congestion into her municipality.
Carol Day says there are other steps the province can take to ease traffic.
“If Mr. Stone and the other members of the caucus really really want to support commuters in 30 days, they could ban the trucks, they could encourage the Port of Vancouver to open up the port and have real lasting relief instead of having another nightmare like the Port Mann Bridge.”
She says she’s happy to see so many people care about the project.
“People took the day off work. I’m abundantly proud of the fact that we scared the minister into leaving his beautiful podium and his wonderful photo op with a tractor in the background and the big pile of dirt to go inside of a smelly, sweaty, stuffy room.”
Day would rather see the Liberals twin the tunnel instead of building a bridge.
The project is widely opposed by the NDP and Metro Vancouver mayors, with the Metro Vancouver Board voting last year to ask for a federal environmental review of the development.
The event comes about a month before the provincial election and includes appearances from Delta Mayor Lois Jackson and Transportation Minister Todd Stone.
Even though the province is touting the Wednesday event as a ‘groundbreaking,’ Delta North MLA Scott Hamilton told CKNW Tuesday that work has already been underway on the project for “at least a couple of months.”