Stone sure beats coal

Delta Optimist

It was a week before Christmas and all through the region mayors were grumbling that Delta was getting a Stone instead of its usual lump of coal.

When Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced last week that a $3.5-billion bridge would replace the George Massey Tunnel, it was an early, but not unexpected, Christmas gift. Stone merely confirmed what the premier had announced three years earlier, but he was able to provide greater detail on what will be the longest bridge in the province’s history. With construction scheduled to start just over a year from now, we will soon see tangible proof that a new river crossing isn’t just a dream. …

Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson, Richmond’s Malcolm Brodie and other mayors have also questioned the expenditure.

It’s one crossing so, no, it won’t solve the region’s traffic woes, but it’s selfish in the extreme to suggest commuters in these parts make do with the antiquated tube for the foreseeable future while our tax dollars continue to be spent on projects elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. …

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Richmond residents asked to weigh in on municipal police debate

Richmond News

The City of Richmond is launching a public consultation period into whether or not it should set up its own police force.

Beginning Jan. 11, the consultation will continue until Feb. 29 and will, ultimately, ask residents their thoughts on whether they want to continue with the current service provided by the RCMP or establish an independent Richmond police department. …

Mayor Malcolm Brodie said previously that residents would have to contrast paying more money for a municipal force with having a local detachment where decisions are being made in Ottawa and “very often there’s no consultation, no discussion, or even any considerations at a local level.” …

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Vancouverites mark five-year anniversary of hosting Olympics

Business In Vancouver

Five years after the February 12 opening of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, elements of some of the oft-debated Games legacies have started to come into focus.

The Games’ speedskating oval not only has become a major sporting centre, but also has helped turn the surrounding area into a hub for development. …

Amacon, Cressey, Intracorp and Onni also have major projects underway in the area, now known as Oval Village. Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said there are 4,500 new residential units and 250,000 square feet of commercial development in various stages of development.

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Snubbed Richmond mayor has big questions over 10-lane toll bridge

Richmond News

“We are still far from knowing what this project is really about.”

Mayor Malcolm Brodie had plenty of questions, despite the detailed revealing of the proposed $3.5 billion toll bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel.

So it was a shame, and somewhat “unusual,” as described by the mayor, that no elected official from the City of Richmond was invited to Wednesday’s project announcement.

Half of the new, 10-lane (including HOV lanes), 3.5-kilometre span — the biggest in B.C.’s history — will be in Delta, so it was no surprise to see Delta mayor Lois Jackson and Delta North MLA Scott Hamilton appearing alongside the provincial transportation minister, Todd Stone.

Absent from formal proceedings at the project office, ironically in Ironwood, Richmond, was any official from this side of the Fraser River.

“Nobody from the City of Richmond was invited,” Brodie said bluntly. “You’ll have to ask the ministry why.” …

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Massey Tunnel replacement bridge not a solution for traffic congestion, say mayors

CBC News

Metro Vancouver mayors are questioning the province’s plans to build a new 10-lane toll bridge to replace the aging Massey Tunnel.

The province unveiled its plans on Wednesday. The project will result in B.C.’s largest toll bridge, crossing the south arm of the Fraser River, linking Delta to Richmond.

“This bridge is going to be a triumph of imagination and engineering,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

But the mayors of Vancouver and Richmond have expressed concern over the project, saying it could do more to hinder than to help the region’s transportation issues.

“You’re going to come over that river faster, and then you’re just going to end up in that same traffic jam approaching the Oak Street Bridge that you’re always in,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

“The province does not seem to want to deal with that problem.” …

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New 10 lane toll bridge to replace Massey Tunnel

CKNW News

The provincial government has released the business case for a $3.5-billion replacement for the George Massey Tunnel.

The 56-year-old tunnel will be replaced with a 10-lane, three-kilometre bridge, consisting of four general travel lanes and an HOV lane in either direction. …

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie says although traffic flowing in and out of Richmond will be quicker, build-up from the Oak Street bridge will be the same.

“To not fix that kind of congestion with some kind of a strategy, I think is shortsighted.” …

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Province defends Massey Bridge as top pick for federal grants

Surrey Now

Transportation Minister Todd Stone is defending the province’s decision to make the replacement of the Massey Tunnel B.C.’s top priority to receive new federal infrastructure grants.

The choice of the new bridge over the Fraser River – expected to cost around $3 billion – isn’t sitting well with some Metro Vancouver mayors, who worry it may effectively compete for federal cash against their rapid transit projects, as well as Metro Vancouver’s top priority of a new sewage treatment plant on the North Shore.

“It is certainly concerning that that bridge project, still somewhat undefined, would be given top billing,” Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said.

Unlike transit upgrades, Brodie said, there is not broad support behind the bridge, particularly in Richmond, where there are fears it will merely shift the existing bottleneck further up Highway 99.

“We’re concerned about the cost and the business plan for it, the impacts on farmland, how effectively it deals with congestion going northbound and southbound, and how it fits with our overall transportation system and the regional growth plan.” …

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‘Hope and prayer’ budget hikes taxes, adds dozen officers

Richmond News

Richmond is set to receive a dozen new RCMP officers, meanwhile residents will see a property tax hike of 3.1 per cent for 2016, after Richmond city council approved the city’s operating budget Monday evening.

Last week, councillors tasked general manager of finances Andrew Nazareth to redistribute money for new police officers to avoid a tax increase beyond the recommended three per cent. …

“Why not 0.5 per cent?” asked Au at the committee.

“Why not two per cent?” replied Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who supports the reserve tax.

“Richmond is rich in assets. I don’t see why we have to keep putting one per cent into reserves,” Au told the Richmond News.

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Province to announce next phase of Massey Bridge Project

News 1130

A planned announcement on the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project is news to Richmond’s Mayor.

Malcolm Brodie told NEWS 1130 neither he nor the City were notified about the Ministry of Transportation’s Wednesday announcement.

“Of course we don’t know what the announcement is going to be but we really have been left out in the dark in so many ways,” said Mayor Brodie. “I think that it’s an unfortunate way to treat a civic partner.” …

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Public library hours slashed by council

Richmond News

Richmond city councillors decided to reduce the opening hours of three branches of the Richmond Public Library, at a council meeting Monday night.

The cuts will save $200,000 annually and result in 26 fewer hours of operation, per week, across the Steveston, Cambie and Ironwood branches. From the savings, the library will apply $150,000 to its e-book and print collection.

The move comes after councillors, and in particular Mayor Malcolm Brodie, questioned rising costs of the library last week at a finance committee meeting, where Brodie said he wouldn’t consider cuts.

Brodie had expressed concern that the library was asking for an additional $200,000 for its collection on top of a three per cent increase to its annual budget. He noted the library’s annual costs rose the most out of any division in the city (other divisions rose by just over two per cent, on average). …

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