Federal intervention on Massey Bridge replacement called for by local electeds denied once again, disappoints locals

Maybe this is blatantly obvious given the federal approval of Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion, but so much for “only communities grant permission”, Prime Minister Trudeau. Regional governments asked the federal government to conduct an Environmental Assessment of the Massey Bridge replacement project last year. They wanted the facts so communities could understand the impacts this project will have on the health of the region. Last week, they received a disappointing answer– no. Communities are once again left on their own to fight megaprojects like this one.

Of course, no federal review is actually required — the gutted Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, a legacy of the Harper Conservatives has heretofore been kept in place by the Trudeau Liberals. A glimmer of hope would have been  their promised reworking  of the Act, but of course that won’t apply to projects with “completed reviews” like the Massey tunnel replacement or the Kinder Morgan pipeline. By treating reviewed projects like foregone conclusions, the Liberals are abandoning cities like Richmond — jurisdictions that are just trying to protect the health and safety of their communities.

BC Liberal advertising for the project claims they are simply removing the Massey tunnel to build the bridge. As such, their assessment did not look at potential impacts like if they decide to dredge the Fraser River — a “necessary” step to bring larger vessels up the river — according to Richmond City Councillor Harold Steves.

And dredging seems almost guaranteed. Doing so allows for bigger ships to make their way to port facilities along the River — like Fraser Surrey Docks. Indeed, it was advocated for by the Port of Vancouver and Fraser Surrey Docks for years, both notorious donors to the BC Liberals who continue to accept corporate donations. This dredging inevitably benefits the Port of Vancouver and its industrial tenants, and fossil fuel proponents like coal and methane exporters, while threatening the health and safety of farming communities as well as the security of Fraser River marine life like salmon.

The benefits for this proposal are indeed meant for corporations rather than constituents. But BC taxpayers may be stuck with the bill of $3.5 billion. 

It looks like the ship of accountability has sailed for Trudeau’s Liberals. Only communities like the City of Richmond and other advocates like you stand in the way to Defend our Farmland from shady, unnecessary projects like the Massey Bridge.