Local residents would do well to contemplate the provincial government’s plan to replace the Massey Tunnel on the Lower Mainland.
At an estimated cost of $3.5 billion, the plan to span the Fraser River with a 10-lane bridge stands to be the most ambitious single public sector project in the province’s history.
More startling is that this works out to $1,400 for each of the 2.5 million people living on the Lower Mainland.
And this is where locals should take notice because it raises the issue of equality of public spending for the overall public good.
This is not to argue that a Massey Tunnel replacement isn’t needed. But there is an argument to be made that if the provincial government wants to spend $1,400 for each Lower Mainland resident, it should rightly do the same up here for transportation infrastructure.
Consider that there are approximately 15,000 people living in Terrace and area. Multiply that by $1,400 and the total is $21 million.
What could that do to pay for a proper walking and cycling trail to connect Thornhill with Terrace across the old bridge or even the new ones? How many metres of sidewalk within both communities might be built? Or, dare we suggest, could this be spent on a second overpass?
All this might sound naive to some, but it shouldn’t stop local elected officials from making a firm point about equal treatment.