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Feds say no to environmental review of Massey Tunnel replacement project

Jennifer Saltman


[Wepage editors note: More evidence that the Trudeau Liberal government is 'more of the same'] 

The Massey Tunnel replacement project will not be subject to a federal environmental review, according to a letter sent to Metro Vancouver’s board of directors.


The board wrote to Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna early last year, urging her to order an environmental assessment for the $3.5-billion bridge project (under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act).


Last June, Metro wrote another letter outlining its concerns to B.C.’s minister of transportation, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office, the premier and the federal environment ministry.


The board said the bridge could have an impact on the area’s air quality, utilities, parks and environment. There was also a lack of transparency and consultation about the bridge’s design and business case, the board said.


The board has said the bridge project does not fit with Metro’s regional growth strategy.


In her letter, McKenna said she considered the facts provided by Metro Vancouver, the provincial and federal regulatory mechanisms in place and the potential environmental effects of the project before deciding not to designate the project for environmental assessment.

She noted that federal rules did not require B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to submit a project description to the federal environmental assessment agency for consideration.


McKenna said the project was subject to a provincial environmental assessment, and if the project proceeds the proponent will have to obtain federal authorizations from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada.


“I appreciate your bringing your concerns to my attention,” McKenna wrote in her letter.


The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in an email that it is aware of McKenna’s decision.


“The province has a very robust environmental assessment process similar to that of the federal government. As well, federal government agencies are part of the provincial Environmental Assessment Office’s technical working group on the project,” the ministry said.


Last week, the provincial ministers of environment and community, sport and cultural development concluded that “no significant adverse effects are likely to occur from the project” and issued an environmental assessment certificate to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for the project. This followed a review by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.


The certificate came with 33 legally binding conditions covering a number of areas, including fish and fish habitat, marine access, traffic, Aboriginal consultation and monitoring, and assessing or managing cumulative environmental effects.