Transportation and the George Massey Tunnel were hot topics Friday as Premier Christy Clark made a short visit to South Delta.
Clark was in Ladner for a women's town hall meeting at the Delta Town & Country Inn hosted by the Delta Chamber of Commerce.
After making a few remarks, Clark opened up the meeting to the 50 or so women in attendance for comments and questions.
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson was the first to speak and stressed to the premier that action on the traffic congestion around the tunnel is needed.
"I have to get a plug in for the Massey Tunnel," she said, adding the municipality is aware of the impending growth in the area and the potential impacts on traffic.
"We're looking at a lot of traffic coming so we're just trying to get in ahead of the curve."
A local business owner told Clark her company has difficulty attracting and retaining employees from the north side of the tunnel due to the daily traffic tie-ups.
She said the company is looking at moving into the Tilbury industrial area and some employees now have concerns about the South Fraser Perimeter Road and the fact that it has been designed with intersections instead of interchanges through the River Road stretch.
"These traffic issues stunt our growth here in Delta," she said.
Heather Colls from Mothers Against Power Poles continued the group's lobbying efforts to have the higher voltage power poles in Tsawwassen removed and the lines buried and shielded. She also told the premier that many in the community are concerned about the SFPR and the loss of agricultural land.
Others in the crowd raised concerns about social assistance funding for low-income individuals and families, a lack of funding and resources for families with children with special needs, and cuts to education funding.
The answer to many of the concerns, Clark said, is a strong economy.
"The only way we can do that is to continue to grow the economy," she said, adding that once the province balances the budget the government can start looking at where to allocate funds.
Clark has been holding town hall-style meetings throughout the province since last summer. She was in Ladner last August for a meeting with constituents as well as business and community leaders. Some forums have been open to all, while others she has made women-only events.
"There's a reason I do this," she said. "I notice that conversations happen differently when it's just women in the room."
The premier said she holds the meetings as a way to work at rebuilding trust between the public and government, something, she said, that took a big hit after the announcement and implementation of the HST.
"People were justifiably mad about the HST," she said.
Outside the hotel, a small group of protesters from the Musqueam First Nation gathered hoping to bring their message to the premier. The band has been lobbying the government for several months to stop construction work in Vancouver's south end in an area that is part of an historical aboriginal burial ground and village site.
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