Wilderness Committee to Minister Penner: No
Certification for Gateway Perimeter Road - "Tail Pipe of the Lower
Vancouver, BC – After two and a half years, British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office has finally passed on the certification papers for the Gateway Program’s most controversial project, the proposed South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR), to Environment Minister Barry Penner’s office for approval. He can either reject it outright, approve it, or send it back for more adjustments and mitigation measures.
The SFPR would facilitate increased traffic generated by the tripling of the capacity of Deltaport, which is at the core of the Pacific Gateway strategy for increased trade with China. “The Gateway Program plans includes transforming the region South of the Fraser into a major shipping corridor by building the South Fraser Perimeter ‘Road’. It should really be called a ‘freeway’ since it would be 6 lanes wide to handle a tripling of big truck traffic,” said the Wilderness Committee’s Healthy Communities Campaigner Ben West.
“Burns Bog, which captures and stores a tremendous amount of carbon from the atmosphere, has been described as the “Lungs of the Lower Mainland”. The proposed SFPR freeway would be best described as the “Tailpipe of the Lower Mainland” because it would pump out pollution from trucks into the backyards of folks living south of the Fraser. All that exhaust plus the emissions from all the extra shipping vessels would be really bad for us all. The Gateway Program is the antithesis of the BC government’s stated plan to reduce carbon emissions,” added West.
Minister Penner has until August 11 to decide what to do. The Wilderness Committee has asked all concerned citizens to participate in a letter writing campaign calling on Penner to reject the certification of the SFPR. Various groups have participated in this campaign ranging from neighourhood associations to student groups to the interfaith community.
“As oil prices have risen, the economic case for Gateway has completely fallen apart. Meanwhile, transit investment is critical to smart and sustainable urban planning, but unfortunately Gateway is monopolizing transportation funding,” said West. Last week Translink’s board revealed in their annual report that they are currently operating at a $2 million a year shortfall just for existing service.
“Gateway is far from being a done deal. What residents on both sides of the Fraser want to know is, ‘will Minister Penner do the right thing? How could he sign his name to such an ecologically disastrous project?’,” added West.