A new eight-lane tunnel or a 10-lane bridge – these are the dueling visions to fix gridlock at the George Massey crossing of the two parties vying for power in the provincial election.
The BC Liberals announced Monday they will build a 10-lane bridge “immediately” if elected, instead of continuing the NDP’s plan to build an eight-lane submerged tube tunnel. The 10-lane bridge was the BC Liberals’ original plan when they were in government, but the NDP scrapped the plans and went back to the drawing board.
The 10-lane bridge would also “align with community plans,” according to the announcement – Richmond city council opposed the 10-lane bridge, especially the large interchange planned in south Richmond.
The NDP, however, say their plans for the new tunnel are “on track” and a final approval is expected by the end of the year.
However, if any changes to the plan were to be made it would “risk major delays, risk losing federal financing, and set the project back years.”
Furthermore, the NDP highlight the BC Liberals’ consistent criticism on the Community Benefit Agreements, which, according to the NDP, is “nearly identical” to the Project Labour Agreements that were signed by the Liberal party.
“Community Benefit Agreements ensure local hiring and procurement whenever possible, and guarantee apprentice spaces to train the next generation of B.C. workers,” said the statement.
Meanwhile, Wilkinson calls the NDP’s stall in the George Massey tunnel replacement “intentional,” saying the NDP government doesn’t “care about families on either side of the Fraser River.”
Horgan and the NDP, Wilkinson said in a media statement, have given people a “long list of broken promises,” with no new infrastructure being built.
“When the NDP does build anything, it costs more because of their insider contract scheme that pays off their donors and friends while discriminating against 85 per cent of construction works,” Wilkinson added.
The BC Liberals say the 10-lane bridge will “get people moving again” along with the addition of $8 billion, over a span of three years, for their Rebuild B.C. plan.
The Rebuild B.C. plan includes building more schools, hospitals, transit and roads in “every corner” of the province.
Alexa Loo, BC Liberal candidate in Richmond South Centre, told the Richmond News that they have "a plan" compared to the NDP.
“The NDP’s plan is to not do anything and delay it forever,” said Loo adding that the NDP’s tunnel replacement “was never going to happen.”
“We need to move goods and people and I think the bridge is the way to do it. We’ve had one approved and there’s $195 million worth of pre-load and everything all ready to go. I think it’s time to get moving on it.”
Henry Yao, NDP candidate for Richmond South Centre, declined an interview with the News and quoted the NDP’s media statement on their plans for the new tunnel replacement in an email.
In the same email, Yao says that BC Liberals' plan for a 10-lane bridge was announced without consultation with the City of Richmond and that their option would “turn Richmond into a parking lot” and take “us back to square one.”