Letter: Fixed link feasibility study

Wednesday, February 10 2016

Dear Editor:

This week’s paper featured many responses to the Minister’s announcement of a cost/ benefit study favouring the ferry option over a bridge option. 

It is very disappointing that it was not recognized that the report was in the style of the “end justifies the means.” Let’s look at only a few examples of no critical thinking by the consultants.

BC population annual growth has not been two per cent since the 1990s and in fact a growth value of one per cent is what the BC credit rating agency has and is using. Secondly, to expect the BC Ferries rate increases to be at the rate of inflation, 2.1 per cent, after all we have experienced in the past 10 years, is an insult. That is how the BC road maintenance contracts are geared but numerous times both the Minister and the BC Ferries have said no to the idea of inflation rate increases only.

Sweden and Denmark built a 16 kilometre bridge-tunnel complex for US $187 million per K and it provides for at least four lanes of road traffic plus two rail tracks. A bridging for Gabriola would be pushed to be a kilometre, have no rail tracks and only a single lane in each direction.

This may be the time to recognize when the community is being “gamed.”

Some folks on this island, me especially, feel embarrassed by getting this garbage presented by the consultant and then the Minister. The mainlanders take us all for “rubes” and this is the latest example.

I spent a few years working as team member of the federal government’s Transportation Research Group. This report would never have been accepted by any of us let alone being paid for. This consultant’s work comes nowhere near satisfying the likes of a Federal Treasury Board nor should it satisfy any critical thinkers on Gabriola.

It is not the issue of being dissatisfied with the no bridge announcement by the Minister, but it is all about the shabbiness of the process. 

This decision and announcement just made Ferry Advisory Commission Chair John Hodgkins and his FAC team’s job a whole lot harder.

~ Erik Andersen

Transportation Economist