WARREN BELL and AMY LUBIK Special to The Globe and Mail
This $9-billion mega-project will displace First Nations who have lived in the Peace River Valley for thousands of years. A joint federal-provincial environmental impact assessment concluded it would “severely undermine use of the land, make fishing unsafe for at least a generation, and submerge burial grounds and other crucial cultural and historical sites.” Amnesty International currently has a petition online signed by 65,000 Canadians asking for a halt to Site C because it is grossly unfair to Canada’s First Nations.
Further, continuing with this project would bring international embarrassment by decimating Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park, named to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1983 because of its natural majesty and significance for endangered species.
The Massey Bridge Replacement means increased costs for taxpayers and commuters. It would also open up the Fraser River to Panamax tankers, enabling a massive expansion of fossil fuel exports.
The bridge has got everything to do with Port Metro Vancouver’s plans to industrialize the Fraser.”
If today’s B.C. government has its way, work will start late this year on a massive $3.5-billion bridge, financed through a Public-Private Partnership (P3), to be completed by 2022.
Which means a stiff toll to pay off private creditors in the years ahead. Which will also mean that the perfectly safe, perfectly good tunnel will be removed. Which could then allow that section of the riverbed to be dredged three to six metres deeper. Which will jeopardize migrating Fraser River salmon. But which will also provide sufficient draft for 300-metre ships to load coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) at expanded riverside facilities in Delta, Surrey and Richmond.
“Despite what Christy Clark says, the reason for the bridge has little to do with removing congestion,” Harold Steves, Richmond City Councillor, says. “A twinned tunnel would solve that. But Port Metro Vancouver doesn’t want a twinned tunnel. It doesn’t want any tunnels. It’s not about congestion. It’s about ships. The bridge has got everything to do with Port Metro Vancouver’s plans to industrialize the Fraser.”
“Twinning the tunnel” has come to mean, in BC Liberal newspeak, building a 10-lane, three-kilometre-long, $3.5-billion toll bridge — almost seven times more than the 2006 estimate for twinning the tunnel and improving Hwy 99, according to a Vancouver Sun report at the time.
Published Friday, Mar. 24, 2017 7:47PM EDT – Last updated Saturday, Mar. 25, 2017 7:11AM EDT
The BC Liberal Party says it is returning nearly $100,000 to donors after a Globe and Mail investigation revealed lobbyists had made indirect contributions that obscured the source of the money – a practice that is now the focus of an RCMP investigation.
The party issued a statement late Friday afternoon that said it had identified 43 contributions totalling $92,874.36 in which donors used their personal credit cards and were later reimbursed. The statement acknowledges such donations are “prohibited.”
In addition, the Liberals say 30 people approached the party to report “clerical errors” that resulted in donations being recorded as personal donations rather than contributions from their employers. The party says it will notify Elections BC of those errors and will “proceed as required,” though it did not confirm whether those donations would also be returned.