A Destructive Freeway Through our Livable Region – and a Gateway to Global Warming
The government of British Columbia’s Gateway program is a proposed $4 billion transportation mega-project. The plan includes: expansion of Highway 1, twinning of the Port Mann Bridge, a “North Fraser Perimeter Road” along the Fraser River between New Westminster and Maple Ridge, and the construction of a new freeway: the “South Fraser Perimeter Road” across the South Fraser region from the overexpanding Deltaport to Langley. If built, this new South Fraser freeway would:
- force families from their homes through expropriation all along the route and reduce property values in the area
- expose schoolchildren to harmful diesel particulate matter, especially at schools in the high risk zone within 750m of the route
- harm businesses located on existing transport routes nearby
- isolate communities from the river they depend on for work, play and inspiration
- isolate communities on the river from important services inland
- pave over sacred First Nations archaeological sites
- pave over fertile farmland in the Agricultural Land Reserve
- pave over regional and municipal parks and recreation areas
- destroy heritage sites and divide neighbourhoods from Tsawassen to Port Kells
- destroy critical fish and wildlife habitat along the world’s greatest salmon river, from South Delta to Langley, paving the banks of the Fraser and cutting through seven endangered ravines
- increase industrialization of our neighbourhoods and ecologically sensitive areas
- increase urban decay and suburban sprawl
- increase traffic noise, congestion and gridlock
- increase smog and reduce air quality
- increase greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global warming
- damage and potentially destroy Burns Bog, the region’s largest carbon sink, breaking the Burns Bog Conservation Covenant signed by four levels of government
- risk disastrous chemical spills by carrying hazardous goods through both densely populated and pristine natural areas
- reduce biodiversity and invaluable ecosystem services like air and water purification
- reduce our health, our quality of life, and the overall livability of our region.
The South Fraser “Perimeter Road” itself would harm not just Delta and Surrey as a whole, but many individual communities along the Fraser River: Tsawassen, Ladner, Tilbury, Sunbury, Annieville, Royal Heights, Cedar Hills, Brownsville, Bridgeview, Whalley, Bolivar Heights, Birdland, Guildford, Fraser Heights, Port Kells… reasonable alternatives to the plan have been put forward by various groups, but to date no meaningful public consultations have been held. No one asked us if we wanted this trucking freeway.
Moreover, the Gateway program would concentrate the vast majority of our transportation funding away from infrastructure that could support sustainable growth – like an adequate and affordable transit network, public greenways, and smart growth initiatives to foster healthy communities and a more diversified local economy capable of weathering these tough economic times.
Dozens of community groups, along with many scientists, politicians, economists, and planners agree that the proposed Gateway program and South Fraser freeway will have disastrous consequences for our region, and ultimately, our planet if we allow it to proceed. People throughout the region, and a growing number around the world, of all ages and backgrounds – from children concerned about the earth they will inherit, to respected elders and senior citizens – are standing up to oppose this project. Their rallying cry:
NO TRUCKIN’ FREEWAYS!