Following a presentation from its chief administrative officer (CAO) George V. Harvie regarding the provincial review of the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, Delta Council has provided its recommendations to the B.C. government.
CAO Harvie identified some of the immediate safety issues with the George Massey Tunnel, including electrical system deficits, deteriorating concrete, damage to sprinkler system, and the ageing ventilation system, while also outlining the significance of Highway 99’s designation as a “Lifeline Corridor”.
Mr. Harvie suggested options for decommissioning, including potentially flooding the tunnel once the new bridge is open. Not only would this option be less expensive and less environmentally harmful than removing the tunnel, it also addresses concerns related to dredging the Fraser River to accommodate larger ships.
At the end of the presentation, CAO Harvie emphasized that the new BC government should be afforded the opportunity to fully review all 145 technical and scientific reports in order to make its own informed assessment of the alternative replacement options for the George Massey Tunnel.
Council also received an update regarding the August 3, 2017 meeting between a delegation of Mayor Lois E. Jackson, CAO Harvie, and Chief Constable Neil Dubord, and Claire Trevena, minister of transportation & infrastructure to discuss the tunnel replacement project. The meeting was productive with the minister committing to reviewing the file in detail prior to making any decisions.
Council endorsed the recommendation from CAO Harvie that a letter be sent to John Horgan, premier of British Columbia, and to Trevena, urging the provincial government to:
- extend or delay the contract award process to allow for Minister Trevena to fully review the technical information and project rationale;
- review recent Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure reports of the tunnel and determine a plan to address current safety concerns surrounding the tunnel;
- review and comment on the significance of Highway 99 as one of only two “Lifeline Corridors” for earthquake emergency response in British Columbia; and
- review options for tunnel decommissioning.
Mayor Jackson and Delta Council continue to support a replacement bridge as the only viable successor to the George Massey Tunnel.