This past week, the Corporation of Delta took out several full page ads in local and regional newspapers to extoll the virtues of replacing the 629-metre George Massey Tunnel with a bridge that is five times the length. These ads accompany a report put out by Delta's own CAO George Harvie. I am going to set aside the question of improper use of municipal funds to focus on Delta's presentation.
In that report, Harvie makes several very strong claims that are not supported by the evidence he presents. The stated goal of the report is to try to convince the incoming government not to examine the bridge proposal. It urges the NDP-Green alliance to not bother scrutinizing the largest infrastructure project in B.C. and to trust that the Liberals followed due process. Delta is asking John Horgan to turn a blind eye to a project that will end up costing up to $12 billion after financing.
Remember, Christy Clark announced the bridge in 2013, years before any inquiry was done to evaluate alternative options. Also remember, the real cost of the bridge was purposely withheld by the Liberals and redacted in the project's public documents. Where is the due process? Despite this, Delta still thinks all necessary information is publicly available. Our rookie MLA even went so far as to say this practice of redacting documents and withholding information, like the bridge proposal has, is "just how you do business."
What I found most disturbing in the report is the way in which quotations from 2007 and 2004 engineering reports are taken out of context and presented as evidence to support claims from 1989. Somehow,
Delta can pay tens of thousands of our tax dollars to call out others for spreading rumours and misinformation, but turns around and uses statements from a report more than 28 years old as evidence for its position. There were supposed to be two phases of seismic upgrades to address those exact concerns.
According to the 2007 EVM report that is quoted extensively, the second phase of seismic upgrades would have addressed the seismic concerns for a total cost of $26.3 million.
This is a number the Liberals and our rookie MLA decried as "prohibitively expensive." This means that to save $26.3 million, the Ministry of Transportation and the Liberal government subjected our community to the "potential for a catastrophic failure of the tunnel."
This is by no means the extent to the unjustifiable information being put forth by those in favour of a bridge. They can continue to call this misinformation all they want, but all I did was take the time to read their own documents.
After years of research and extensively reading the documents presented on the bridge proposal, I understand how drastically any replacement option will impact our community. If anyone has any information that I do not have or questions about where or how I derive my facts, please get in touch.
Community advocate Nicholas Wong ran as an independent candidate in Delta South in May's provincial election. He finished second with more than 6,400 votes. He can be reached at email@example.com.