Critics say Premier Gordon Campbell is wrong on Gateway Program

Last week, Premier Gordon Campbell told the Straight the provincial Gateway Program would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions throughout the region. This week, Stephen Rees, the B.C. Green candidate in Richmond East, said the premier's claim was a lie.

“It's all about land development,” Rees, a former TransLink planner, told the Straight on April 14. “It's got nothing to do with transportation. It's got nothing to do with goods from China or anything else. Every time you flip a piece of land out of bog or agriculture into a higher and better land use, you make lots of money overnight just at the stroke of a pen by the change of the land-use zoning. And that's what they're about.”

Campbell and B.C. transportation minister Kevin Falcon officially unveiled the Gateway Program in 2006, although it was established in 2003. The project includes the widening of Highway 1 from East Vancouver to Langley, the replacing of the Port Mann Bridge with a 10-lane span, and the construction of the North and South Fraser Perimeter Roads.

Campbell said Gateway is “many, many things that are happening at once to make the region more livable, to reduce our impact and our greenhouse-gas impact, and to invest in public transit. And I think that when you take all those things together—as we move to California tailpipe emissions and those other initiatives—I think you will see actually a reduction in greenhouse gases.”

Rees countered, “It won't, and that's their own figures,” referring to B.C.'s 2007 environmental-assessment submissions, which predict that 176,000 tons of greenhouse gases will be added in the Lower Fraser Valley annually until 2021 as a result of Gateway. He added, “I don't believe their figures. I believe it's grossly underestimated.”

Rees noted Falcon trampled on TransLink's 2004 plan—included in its three-year strategic plan for 2005 to 2007—to have a bus running across the Port Mann from Surrey to Coquitlam. The former planner said the plan could help alleviate the congestion without spending billions of taxpayer dollars.

Transportation planner Eric Doherty also slammed the premier's greenhouse-gas claim.

“If we go ahead with Gateway, we can flush the whole 33 percent by 2020 target,” Doherty said. “That promise”¦can't be done if you're spending billions of dollars on freeways at the same time. It's impossible, and I really do think that the government, in particular Gordon Campbell, understands that full well.”

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6 Comments

Evil eye

Apr 16, 2009 at 8:05am

Campbell's Gateway highways plan is nothing more than an attempt to build freeways into the heart of Vancouver. Who knows what highway plans lurks within Gordo & Co.; the Evil eye knows!

Evil Eye

Apr 16, 2009 at 11:47am

Gateway is not about pollution targets or alleviating congestion me heartys, it's all about BC blacktop politics. Rubber on asphalt for ever!

RodSmelser

Apr 16, 2009 at 1:58pm

I think it's worth remembering two things.

First, according to statements he made himself on his blog some months ago, Stephen Rees drives to work in his own car through the Deas Island tunnel. That's because he is forced to do so. You must understand. Mr Rees's situation is quite different than that of so many other single occupant vehicle drivers crowding highways and bridges who could so easily switch to public transit, or eliminate their commute entirely by just living close to work in "complete communities". The difference is that Mr Rees is a transportation expert, and urbanist, and a blogger.

Second, in another statement made on his blog many months ago, Mr Rees stated that he couldn't give a damnif every car on the road were a ZEV, he would still be just as opposed to the Port Mann bridge project. What does this say about his arguments on GHGs? As for his facile dismissal of the estimates he quoted ("I don't believe their figures"), whose estimates does he think are more accurate?

Rod Smelser

Sandra Streifel

Apr 17, 2009 at 9:42am

The point is, Ron, that opening up more and bigger freeways to the remaining agricultural lands in the lower mainland will lead to their loss, and easy commuting leads to more growth of more residential developments futher away from the unchanged downtown employment hub. Gateway is more than a band-aid--it's a speedball so the patient can get up and run on the broken leg of southwest BC's environmental development!

Alex Hartman

Apr 8, 2013 at 5:28pm

well i agree premier Campbell is a liar we now as of December 1 2012 have the #555 POrt mann Express only comes every half hour it is mainly for cars as with the south fraser perimiter road and pitt river bridge and interchange. Your plan made transit seem like dream on to ubc and langley and the nevergreen line to douglas you never funded it took a new leader to fund it Glad your gone you are a wrecker of the enviroment and so is your ruddy minister Falcon.