Sunbury Neighbourhood Association

the PROVINCE - Dec 6, 2007

Delta’s top prize goes to man who won’t quit
CITIZEN OF YEAR: Greg Hoover leads battle cry against ‘Falcon’s Folly’

Brian Lewis

When the Delta Chamber of Commerce hands out its annual Citizen of the Year award, it’s usually in recognition of a particularly noteworthy community accomplishment or success.

Given those criteria, 2007 recipient Greg Hoover was totally unprepared when his name was announced as winner over two other finalists at the chamber’s awards banquet.

“I’d even told my wife not to bother bringing the family camera,” the 60-year-old construction project manager says.

To its credit, this year the Delta Chamber of Commerce decided to recognize efforts on behalf of the community — whether or not those efforts ultimately resulted in success.

For the past five years, Hoover and fellow Tsawwassen resident Olav Naas have been trying to convince the B.C. government that there is a far more viable route for the South Fraser Perimeter Road than the $1billion proposal which Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon and the bureaucrats at the Gateway Project are now relentlessly pushing through the environmental approval process.

Both routes are designed to serve a Deltaport expansion which, when completed, will see container-truck traffic through Delta increase from 1,800 trucks daily to well over 5,000 daily.

However, the Falcon route is not only pricey, it uses much more critical farmland, impacts the environmentally sensitive Burns Bog area, will trigger significant residential and business-property expropriations and will do little to ease already critical north-south traffic congestion though the Massey Tunnel.

On the other hand, the HooverNaas route from Deltaport would be a dedicated truck-only highway running within the existing rail right-of-way, which Victoria already owns to the point where it crosses Highway 99. That’s close to where Highway 99 intersects Highway 91 and it’s also near Highway 91’s access to Highway 10.

The Hoover-Nass route  www.thereisanotherway.com  also features a tunnel under the Sunbury and Annieville areas of North Delta to eliminate truck impact on those long-established residential neighbourhoods on the Fraser River’s south side.

Falcon’s ground-level route runs right through some parts of those neighbourhoods, which is why some homes and businesses must be destroyed to accommodate parts of the 40-kilometre, four lane freeway.

“Even though the government dismisses our route, I’m not giving up,” Hoover says. He explains that the government’s route was established years ago when industrialization was also being planned for nowenvironmentally protected areas such as Burns Bog and Brunswick Point near Deltaport.

“Consequently, some of the key elements originally supporting [that] route no longer exist but the politicians and bureaucrats can’t think outside the box, so they’re sticking to the original route.”

The Hoover-Nass group and its supporters are also finishing a 45minute documentary which will air on YouTube after Christmas and possibly on CBC and/or the Knowledge Network, Hoover adds.

He also says the government route will run into massive construction problems because it runs though Delta’s bog lands. “Anyone who tries to build a road through a bog for a fixed sum is a fool. Even the Romans knew enough to avoid bogs when building roads.”

That’s why many in Delta now refer to the South Fraser Perimeter Road as “Falcon’s Folly.” If you have a noteworthy item about anything in the Fraser

Valley, e-mail Brian via blewis@png.canwest.com

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