Metro Vancouver board is anticipated to meet next Friday (April 1) to have local politicians vote on a staff recommendation to ask for a federal environmental assessment of Premier Christy Clark’s plan to build a $3.5-billion, 10-lane tolled bridge over the Fraser River. According to a staff report to the board, a letter should be addressed to Environment and Climate Change Minister, Catherine McKenna, to request her to order a review under section 14(2) of the Canadian Environment Assessment Act, 2012.
The province has claimed that the new crossing to replace the George Massey Tunnel will result in a net increase in farmland but its critics ridicule the province’s claim and say billions of dollars slated for this new bridge would be better spent enhancing the transit system. The Metro Vancouver staff report reveals that the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office has determined the proposed bridge should be subjected to a provincial review process and it must obtain an assessment certificate before it can be built. This
In addition to that, the Metro Vancouver staff report also points out that Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency staff maintains that reviews of public highway projects “are triggered only if and when the subject public highway is situated within a federally designated wildlife area or migratory bird sanctuary.” According to the Metro Vancouver staff “the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project does not meet this criterion in the view of the Assessment Agency.”
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