Letters

Here are some of the many letters we have written to our esteemed politicians:

Letter to House of Commons:
To members of the House of Commons and Senate of Canada:

I write to you on behalf of Gateway 40, a network of 40 environmental, conservation, agricultural, health, transportation, planning, education and neighbourhood organizations in the south Fraser (from Richmond to
Abbotsford) region of British Columbia to urge you to stop federal tax dollars from investing in the destruction of your region through support for the BC Government’s transportation plan, the Gateway Program.

This transportation plan is being imposed upon a region that does not want it. The City of Vancouver, the City of Burnaby, the City of Delta – even the Greater Vancouver Vancouver Regional District – have all said
NO to Gateway. Nevertheless, Stephen Harper and David Emerson have promised hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support.

As taxpayers we are offended by this extremely unwise expenditure of money.

The BC government has underinvested in public transportation for more than 15 years, and public transit service in this region has become a serious handicap ecologically, economically and in terms of safety.
Instead of making the massive investment required to bring our transit service up to date, the BC government is making minimal investments in public transportation and spending the lions share of federal funding building highways and bridges the people don’t want. A poll recently commissioned by Canada’s oldest environmental organization, the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation, concluded that 73% of British Columbians would prefer to see the money spent on transit improvements instead of twinning Highway #1 and the Port Mann Bridge. As you will see from the attached “Gateway to Cancer” newspaper
clipping, the BC government’s own literature acknowledges this program will cause an increase in deaths of children. Why are you investing our tax dollars in that end?

This same newspaper article quotes the Gateway Program’s position that “with increased air pollution there can possibly be increased employment (eg. in the health sector) because of the economic activity associated with correcting the results of its impacts.” As taxpayers we know that health care is not a profitable business. As residents of a region with a severe shortage of medical professionals, as residents of a region that has already seen pediatric asthma rates quadruple in one decade alone, we are duly alarmed by this glib attitude towards the health – the very lives – of our children.

As citizens of a region facing a food security crisis within the next 15 years (and I refer you to the
http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/resmgmt/Food_Self_Reliance/BCFoodSelfReliance_Report.pdf report from the BC government), we are extremely concerned by the South Fraser Perimeter Road and Deltaport’s destruction of nearly 1500 acres of the best farmland in the country. We are concerned that a region that already loses up to 25% of its farmgate crops to ground level ozone is going to take an agricultural and economic bath from elevated pollution from Gateway.

As citizens of a region that boasts some of the richest biodiversity on the continent, we are extremely concerned by science that tells us the expansion of Deltaport will likely render our south coast Orcas extinct.  We are concerned that this transportation plan is proceeding even while the Canadian Wildlife Service issue hunting permits to destroy 40,000 snow geese, because we have already destroyed so much habitat that this region can no longer support the 5 million birds that make Boundary Bay Canada’s internationally recognized Important Bird Area.

As citizens of a region that believed all three levels of government partners who signed onto the protective covenants for Burns Bog, we are concerned by the scientists who tell us the South Fraser Perimeter Road will alter the hydrology of this critically important ecosystem, and  impose on its numerous at-risk species a level of pollution they cannot tolerate.

As consumers who believe that small business is the backbone of our economy, we are concerned that this big business transportation scheme sounds the death knell for thousands of entrepreneurs in the historic village of Ladner, the family business businesses of Sunbury and the cultural centre of Commercial Drive.

As citizens that value our heritage – and the living reminders of it – we are concerned by the Gateway Program’s plans to wantonly destroy hundreds of heritage homes and farms and see this region’s pioneers
thrown off their land. (see Delta residents video below).

As taxpayers we are concerned that the BC government’s P3 lawyer has made $1.9 million in profits from selling the Ministry of Transportation a contaminated site, while hundreds of families are being brutally
expropriated and driven unwillingly from their homes, their communities.

The bottom line is that the Gateway Program and expansion of Deltaport are not needed. The BC government’s own studies concluded that by putting buses across the Port Mann Bridge RIGHT NOW, they would effect a 35% decrease in congestion. By making the necessary investments to bring our public transit service across the region up to date, we could dramatically increase that percentage. Pretty good considering their own studies also acknowledge that Highway #1 will be fully congested again within a few years’ time. Here footage of David Emerson acknowledging the same thing during a recent visit to Vancouver.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAD3n0mRnVU

Finally, it is not too late to save Roberts Bank and the mouth of the Fraser River. Prince Rupert’s Port has many environmental and transportation advantages over Delta, as you will see from the attached
Powerpoint discussion. The region need experience no economic hardship, no shortage of commercial goods. Instead, we distribute the economic activity to benefit all and reduce impacts by spreading them around.

Academics, scientists, politicians at all levels of government – and the taxpayers of this region – oppose the Gateway Program. Why is our federal government investing in it?

If your travels bring you to this region, we would be delighted to meet with you, give you a tour of our special part of the world and talk to you about our concerns. In the meantime, we beg you to put the brakes on any federal funding to the expansion of Deltaport and the Gateway Program.

With thanks and kind regards,

Donna Passmore

Coordinator, Gateway 40 Network

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Mark said,

    With regards to the Portmann bridge:

    I respect your website, views, and your willingness to bring a positive change, but look:

    The portmann bridge is dangerous. It wasn’t built to be a 5 lane bridge. It’s constantly congested…my guess is on average a car can be backed up 30-45 minutes. Multiply that idling time by the amount of cars and then figure out the amount of C02 put into the air. Even if the population DRASTICALLY increased there would be less C02 emissions from a twinned bridge.

    Think of this: yes it would be nice to invest that money into sustainable transportation (train, buses) but the Portmann bridge is on a main artery into the lower mainland. This means people visiting from the city use this bridge. As well, people driving out of the lower mainland use this bridge (vacation, business etc). Many contractors that live in Chilliwack, Abbotsford or Langley use this bridge because they have no other choice in transportation due to there different job locations.

    Many people work in Vancouver but live elsewhere because of the high cost of living. They use this bridge everyday. Work closer to home you might say? Easier said than done. So from my perspective: eys I think they should twin the Portmann bridge. If you took a poll from the people that actually use the bridge everyday, I gaurantee you they would advocate expanding this bridge. If you took a poll from the environmentalists that don’t use the bridge everday, of course they would say no. Why not try a website that advocates cleaner transportation (electric cars, fuel cell, transit)

  2. 2

    Don Hunt said,

    If they were only going to widen the crossings…Port Mann Bridge, Pattullo Bridge, Massey Tunnel, etc….that would relieve the bottleneck…but it would encourage people to use their cars more. The trouble is the Gateway people and the Ministry of Transportation want to double the size of the Highway as well, so we end up with twice the problem in just a few years. Six lanes of gridlock instead of three. Gateway officials have said that the SFPR will be at capacity in 15 yrs, (I’m betting its closer to 5 years), and they are already looking at plans to build another Highway from highway 99 @ 91, out through more of our farmland to highway 17 in Cloverdale and beyond. What we are saying is, that we need to make it real easy, inexpensive and pleasant for the average person to take a bus or a tram or a train…like they do in other big cities, and use barges and rail to move goods, not so many trucks…and certainly not the amount of trucks that the Gateway plans project, and encourage. Our green spaces, our air quality, and our liveability cannot take the impacts.The pollution is killing us already…we must reverse the amount of damage, not increase it.

  3. 3

    Ceire said,

    Hi, my name is Ceire and I live in Ontario. I am doing a science fair project based on are the olympics worth the affect it has on the environment. I was wondering if there were any websites where i can find more information, and how much gas is used by a car per hour.


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