It was shocking and disappointing to read that our new mayor – with MLA Ian Paton chiming in – is continuing our city council’s short-sighted lobbying on behalf of global shipping magnates and the BC Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association.
Rather, they should be focusing on the long-term interests of the people of Delta. It is long past time for them to accept that their massive bridge boondoggle is dead and real solutions to transportation challenges south of the Fraser are needed.
The most recent – and seriously alarming – report of the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change informs us the world has just 12 years to make drastic cuts in carbon emissions. If we fail, the planet will blow through the precautionary threshold of an average rise in global temperatures of 1.5 degrees with life-threatening repercussions for the entire biosphere.
In South Delta, whose elevation above sea level is negligible, the impact will be two-fold: taxpayers will be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to constantly keep raising the dikes surrounding our region in response to rising ocean levels; or, in the alternative, the dikes will be breached with resulting destruction of homes, businesses and infrastructure with costs running into the billions of dollars.
Ironically, the massive bridge and concurrent highway expansions they are proposing will inevitably facilitate increased single occupant vehicle use and truck traffic, the very things that are among the largest contributors to total global CO2 emissions.
And it is those highways and related arterial roads that will be flooded out, destroyed or become death traps for drivers as we’ve witnessed over and over again in places like New Orleans, Houston and North Carolina, just to mention climate change disaster zones in our own hemisphere. In other parts of the world that are less resilient as they have fewer resources, the effects are even worse, if you can imagine.
Fiscally prudent political leaders and public managers across the country and around the world are adjusting the plans and projects accordingly. In fact, steps are being taken to put together and launch a class action lawsuit against the 20 major fossil fuel corporations to force them to cover the costs of climate change mitigation and protections that are already impacting the budgets of local government.
Unfortunately, it seems our representatives seem to be stuck with their heads in the sand, not a good position to be in when the waters rise above your ankles.