Sunbury Neighbourhood Association

 
Seeing red over road plan

 
 
 
JEFF NAGEL THE LEADER
More than 250 North Delta residents, some facing expropriation of their homes, lined up Tuesday night to speak out on plans to build the South Fraser Perimeter Road through their neighbourhood. The public meeting at Brooke Elementary School was organized by Delta council. Gateway Initiative officials promised there will be more discussion and revision of road plans.
By Jeff Nagel
MetroValley News

Apr 15 2005


Plans for a truck freeway through North Delta may be reworked to ensure there's no access into the local neighbourhood.
More than 250 residents got a pledge from Gateway program officials at a Tuesday night public meeting to at least reconsider and refine plans for the $800-million South Fraser Perimeter Road.
"If it needs to be revisited that's exactly what we're committed to doing," said Gateway executive director Mike Proudfoot. "We'll have more dialogue with the community to get it right.
"It's quite clear there needs to be some more evaluation of this."
He was in the hotseat after a three-year-old route design displayed at the meeting showed off- and on-ramps connecting the perimeter road to the neighbourhood at Centre St. and Delwood Drive - to the protest of local residents.
"We do not need a connector so you can go flying through this residential area," said River Road resident Raija McDonald. "Save yourselves millions of dollars - just forget it."
Intended to hasten cargo-laden trucks from expanded ports through congestion in Delta and Surrey onto Hwy 1, the proposed road is also being held up as a way to return River Rd. to the neighbourhood.
There would be no freeway tie-ins at the north and south ends of River Rd., residents were told. Local traffic would enter and exit the community via Nordel Way.
Other elements of the project also came under fire, including the possible elimination of heritage homes, the elevation of the freeway, and its effects on slope stability.
"From what I understand so far your plans are to expropriate homes from families who've lived in this region, some for 75 years," resident Don Hunt told Proudfoot. "You're also prepared to bulldoze heritage homes, bald eagles' nests and put on- and off-ramps leading up five residential streets."
"All of this is unacceptable."
He and others demanded project planners take a closer look at placing the route in a tunnel instead, perhaps paid for by a levy on containers arriving at the Fraser's expanding ports.
Proudfoot pointed out that a tunnel would be much more expensive. He also said it may not be possible to transport dangerous goods through a long tunnel.
Gateway officials anticipate more public forums in the fall, although Delta may host its own meetings sooner.
City staff are to report back to council May 30 with a report recommending the city's strategy going forward.
If the project advances to an approved design, it could undergo an environmental assessment next year.
Once final approval comes, Proudfoot said, construction is estimated to take four to five years.
Many residents at the meeting said they just want the road to be built and to get on with their lives. Others said they feel held to ransom, unable to sell their homes because of the uncertainty.
Officials estimate 4,000 trucks per day use River Rd., amounting to about a third of total traffic on the route.
Mayor Lois Jackson said it's clear from the meeting residents oppose a connection to River Rd. from the perimeter road.
"From my perspective that would defeat the purpose of a through truck route at 80 kilometres per hour," she said. "You don't go in putting stop lights and ramps in a place like that."
Jackson said she's not optimistic that residents will get their wish for a tunnel or for truck traffic to be routed on an altogether different route.
"I suppose if we all had our wish come true we wouldn't have any traffic in front of our homes," Jackson said. "I think we have to mitigate, minimize and do whatever we can."