RDN requesting MOTI do study on socio-economic impact of bridge on Gabriola, Mudge and Nanaimo

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, January 21 2015

At its Jan. 28 meeting, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) will be voting on sending a letter to Todd Stone, BC Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, requesting a socio-economic study be done as to the impact of a bridge connecting Gabriola Island to Nanaimo.

Howard Houle, RDN Director for Area B (Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy), asked the Board to support the sending of such a letter further to the province’s announcement that a feasibility study was being done comparing the economics of constructing a fixed link to replace the current ferry system. Houle was specific in stating the study he was requesting would look at the socio-economic impacts of a bridge on Gabriola Island, Mudge Island, and downtown Nanaimo businesses.

RDN Director Bill Bestwick (City of Nanaimo representative), after confirming that the feasibility study for the bridge had already been approved, asked Houle if he wanted a separate socio-economic study to be done. Houle said he believed MOTI should pay for such a socio-economic study.

The motion to send the letter was approved by all RDN directors except Director Bill McKay (Mayor, City of Nanaimo) who voted against it.

As the meeting being held last week on Jan. 13 was a Committee of the Whole of the RDN Board, the motion will still need to be approved by the RDN Board at its next regular meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 27.