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Delta South MLA says tunnel replacement now 'a bit of a joke'

Delta South MLA Ian Paton described the government’s throne speech as disappointing
delta south liberal mla ian paton
Delta South MLA Ian Paton, in the legislature this week, also called on the government to stop overpromising and under- delivering on housing and childcare and emphasized the need for a full spectrum of care for those suffering from addictions, as well as more COVID-19 data and transparency.

The New Democrat government’s throne speech offers little relief for Delta residents and local farmers. 

That’s what Delta South Liberal MLA Ian Paton said in the legislature this week, breaking down the throne speech, which he outlined as lacking any sort of vision or plan to improve pandemic relief supports or boost B.C.’s economic recovery.

Monday’s throne speech, delivered by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin, also included a commitment to record spending on infrastructure, including the replacement of the 62-year-old George Massey Tunnel as a priority.

Paton said NDP actions to date don’t support that claim and that all the government continues its “awe-inspiring delays” on the project.

“This is truly becoming a bit of a joke as the completion marker moves further and further away and motorists suffer more and more,” said Paton. “Our previous government had it sorted out. We had a plan, we had funding, we had a timeline and a replacement would have been nearly complete about a year from now…instead of sticking with the more innovative bridge plan, which would have fewer environmental impacts, this government intends on reliving the 1950s by plunking another concrete tube in the Fraser River.”

Noting Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Ken Baird expressed opposition to the option now considered by government to build another tunnel, Paton on the assertion a replacement is a priority asked, “What the heck does that mean?”

The government earlier this year unveiled two possible crossing options, one being an eight-lane tunnel while the other is a bridge with the same number of lanes.

A business case on the options has been completed and is now in the hands of the transportation ministry.

The province is reviewing that submission and will consult with partners and stakeholders.

The business case will only be made public following the government’s decision.