No Thumbs Up for Gateway Project
By Dan Ferguson, Staff Reporter
Jul 14 2006
Delta residents will just have to live with a less than ideal version of the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) proposed by the provincial government’s Gateway program, Mayor Lois Jackson predicted Monday.
“Despite the fact it isn’t the route we’ve chosen, it is a necessary route,” Jackson told council.
She said the provincial government is unlikely to make any substantial changes in response to Delta complaints.
“I’m not terrifically happy about the Gateway program, but neither is any other mayor in the Lower Mainland,” Jackson added.
Her comments came after other members of council said they could not give their unqualified support to Gateway because of concerns about the impact of the SFPR.
At issue was a request by the Greater Vancouver Regional District and TransLink for comments from affected municipalities.
A city engineering department report suggested council should say it “generally” supports Gateway, wording that drew objections from several members of council, who ordered a rewrite that will include specific concerns about the expected loss of housing in North Delta and farmland in South Delta.
Coun. Robert Campbell said Delta interests are being trampled by Gateway planners who are determined to eliminate bottlenecks in freight shipments through Delta’s deep-water container port to the rest of the country.
“We’re not the gateway for our country, we’re a doormat,” Campbell said.
Coun. Vicki Huntington called the design of the North Delta section of the road “a blight and an eyesore” that will mean the “severing of the community from the water” because it will run along the Fraser River.
Coun. Krista Engelland said because of the loss of agricultural land and homes to SFPR, she “can’t support the Gateway program at all.”
The planned $800-million truck route would run along the south bank of the Fraser River from Deltaport to 176 Street and the future Golden Ears Bridge.
The four-lane heavy truck road is designed to connect port terminals and industrial sites along the river with Highway 1, providing a new goods movement corridor.
It’s a major part of the $3-billion Gateway program, which also includes $1.5 billion to twin the Port Mann bridge and widen Highway 1, and $400 million to build the North Fraser Perimeter Road through Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows and New Westminster including a new Mary Hill interchange and a new six-lane Pitt River bridge.
Surrey city council recently gave Gateway its qualified support, expressing concern about the possible impact on traffic if the planned new Port Mann carries tolls for motorists and the Pattullo doesn’t.