Richmond city council made it very clear to BC Hydro they don’t want overhead transmission lines at the George Massey crossing.
Even if there were a change of government and the plan reverted back to a bridge, they still don’t want large transmission lines over the river crossing.
BC Hydro was updating city council on its plan to replace the current transmission lines that run through the existing tunnel, saying they have three options: an overhead line, a separate tunnel for the transmission line or putting the line in the new immersed tube tunnel.
Mayor Malcolm Brodie said he couldn’t understand why BC Hydro ever considered a “regressive” overhead transmission lines that look like they’re from the 1920s.
“I always struggle to determine just how is that future-oriented,” Brodie told the BC Hydro representatives.
Coun. Carol Day described overhead transmission lines as unsightly, dangerous and an eyesore.
The province is planning to replace the current tunnel with an eight-lane immersed tube tunnel, expected to be completed by 2032.
The new opposition leader, Kevin Falcon, however, has said he would cancel the immersed tube tunnel project and bring back the BC Liberals’ old plan of building a 10-lane bridge, if he became premier in the next election.
Richmond city council opposed the BC Liberal plan for a 10-lane bridge because of the impact it would have had on farmland and greenspace in south Richmond.
At Monday's meeting, Brodie referred to it as a "behemoth bridge."
Several councillors also reiterated their past opposition to the overhead transmission lines.
Coun. Bill McNulty, speaking to the BC Hydro representatives, Judy Dobrowolski and Antigone Dixon-Warren, said it was “offensive” Richmond city council’s opinion on overhead transmission lines wasn’t part of their presentation.
“Richmond’s position was not reflected in your report,” McNulty told the BC Hydro representatives. “I find that, to be quite frank with you, quite offensive. We’ve been around this probably longer than you have.”
When asked by Coun. Chak Au how BC Hydro would determine the best option, Dixon-Warren said the utility would look at maintenance issues, safety, reliability, the environment, the cost and impacts on stakeholders like Indigenous groups.
Coun. Kash Heed called overhead transmission lines “hideous” and said city council would oppose them “any way we can,” whether eventually a bridge or a tunnel is built.
The final decision on what kind of transmission lines will be built will be made by BC Hydro senior management, explained Dixon-Warren.