Prelude to coming post : ” Just the facts.”

It’s time to set the stage for the one of two stories I have been working on, and re-post an article from December regarding Kevin Falcon and the Gateway project. It clearly shows the relationship between Falcon, Campbell and the federal Conservatives, ( nothing new about this to most political junkies, but I still find it remarkable how little people consider the federal influence on provincial politics and policy) and will refresh your memory on Gateway and the South Fraser Perimeter Road project. 

The link at the end of this piece to a BC Business article about Kevin Falcon was no longer functional… surprise… but I did locate a new link, replaced it and uploaded the copy to the net just in case.

Is this Falcon really a new generation in leadership…or just another opportunistic crow? The SFPR and Gateway unplugged.

Posted on December 3, 2010 by Laila ( original post located here , with comments )

   No, really, it wasn’t actually my idea at all! Falcon  and his Tory friends came up with the whole Gateway thing right after I appointed him! ”

  ” He, he, he… I did, didn’t I? And everyone though that was your baby… he, he, he…”

One wonders when looking at Campbell and Falcon, if it could be by  sheer coincidence  only that the younger politician seems to have modelled himself after the older. Swap Kevin’s gelled, ever-changing shades of brown for the silver coif of Campbell, and they look remarkably similar. Seriously – imagine Falcon in 15 years ! ( he is older than most think – late 40′s )  However, physical attributes aside, it is the similarity of ramming projects and policy through without regard to anything else, that bothers me most about Kevin Falcon.

 He is well-known for his forceful manner of getting things done, but in my opinion, these are not always things that need to be done, or  should be done the way that Falcon dictates. Extensive research on the Sea to Sky highway shadow tolls, and the project in general has proved this to be true, as has evidence uncovered by my continuing investigations into other projects. (  future stories to come) His signature  and approval is on many, many documents that may come back to haunt him during his leadership bid.

Take for example, the South Fraser Perimeter Road, which is part of the very contentious Pacific Gateway initiative Falcon mentioned in his leadership bid press conference.

In 2005, Stephen Harper announced the Pacific Gateway Strategy, one of the most expensive and ambitious undertakings that centres around British Columbia’s proximity to Asia – China specifically – and the trade routes and transportation hubs we have along our coastline. Taking advantage of this link to China has been a huge project for the BC Liberal and Harper, with MLAs and MP’s travelling several times to China on trade missions to develop and foster business relationships.

 Enter the BC governments Gateway Program, which the government often tries to emphasize is  more about people and moving them around, than it is about moving goods and making money. Truth is, it is all about making money.  The funny thing is that  most of these projects never got the get-go until Kevin Falcon came onto the scene, and consequently signed a memorandum of understanding with Gordon Campbell, Stephen Harper, and David Emerson, accessible here in PDF format.*  PDF counts as five words ; )  Canada-BC-MOU . Gateway has been Falcon’s baby since day 1, and he is guaranteed to follow it through with this same forceful manner of leadership that may have been the hallmark of Campbell’s demise.

The only problem with this big plan of Falcon’s was that much of it was a public relations nightmare – and for good reason. The South Fraser Perimeter Road, which is going to move along the Fraser River in parts of Surrey and Delta, will run from the Port Mann to Deltaport, cutting through residential neighbourhoods with schools, and cutting across part of Burns Bog before moving across some of the most fertile farmland this country has to offer.

 It has been the subject of numerous protests over the last couple of years, with civil disobedience and now a legal battle has begun because the Burns Bog Conservation Society  filed a lawsuit against both the federal and provincial governments for violating the conservation covenant to protect Burns Bog. My wholehearted support is behind this venture, because the South Fraser Perimeter Road  is the wrong project, for the wrong reasons, at entirely the wrong time.

It really made me wonder what would make the BC Liberals move ahead with a project like this,considering all the environmental and economic issues plaguing this project. My earlier reports of significant scope changes to the project, based on information from inside sources earlier, was recently confirmed in the news. Not just any changes, but changes that are still extremely worrying to Delta staff and councillors, as well as MLA Vicki Huntingdon because not only will  the changes create a traffic nightmare, but also a very real safety issue for all drivers on the road.

Originally announced to be a swift moving, mainly truck traffic route with overpasses and interchanges to keep traffic moving, some of those have plans have been scrapped in favor of street light controlled intersections. The move was not a financial one, the government claims, but one based on traffic forecasts where the improvements can be made many years down the road…

All of this came after there had  already been a major change to the bidders during the bidding process, and the project budget was increased before signing in favour of what some may call environmental sucking up. I would also be remiss to  mention the very large drop in trade with China with the economy over the last couple of years, one that has been slow to recover with China’s trade policies.

Toss in the soon to open Panama Canal Expansion… (see ** below) well, why would someone send freight to Vancouver, and then truck it , or send it by rail across the country at great cost when you can ship it right through the newly widened canal and right back up the east coast ? Hmm? Yes, that’s right, Mr. Falcon, you have nothing to say about that, do you?

**( the above story link was fine last night at the time of posting this story. Within one hour I received messages from readers stating that the link was eaten and the story no longer accessible. I luckily have a copy of that story, that you can read – and should read – here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/47413523/Perimeter-Road-One-Billion-Dollar-White-Elephant#

You see where I am going with this?

Even to the average person, one would wonder why a road that was billed to take container trucks off of residential streets is being built when the global economy has taken such a dive. Even today, stories are coming out that we are about to enter the second wave of recession with the recent developments in Ireland and other countries. Even banks that do global financing, as with the Sea to Sky highway financiers, are still taking hits. ( what the impact of these foreign banks troubles has on our foreign financed P3 projects is, is still unknown- that is another future story)

But wait, there is more to make you question this project if what I have said has not already made you scrunch your brows in confusion.

What if the government itself, as well as many agencies and organizations, felt that trucking was not the best way to move containers from ship to distributor? What if there was a way  that could take trucks off the road almost completely, or a very good proportion of them anyways?

What about Short Sea Shipping?  Pure and simple, this involves placing freight containers from cargo ships onto barges instead of trucks, and pulling them via tug boats up the Fraser river to destination of choice. Not a new concept by far, and one recognized by the ports, the government and the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council as being both a viable and realistic alternative. According to some reports I have come across, there have even been investors ready to invest money into new facilities along the waterfront to receive the barged cargo.

The following confidential document is from 2007, and was produced by an organization called the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council. The brainchild of the federal government, it’s job would appear to be to study these Gateway issues and dictate how things are done, or should be done, in their opinion.  ( PDF format) gatewayvision

Page 16 details what would seem to be extraordinary advantages to container trucking, which would make one think the government would have been all over this – if it was indeed, acting in the best interests of the public. It openly states that moving cargo via this method would take a good percentage of trucks off the road, a win- win situation for all.

So intent have been Falcon and the stakeholders behind the Gateway Council to facilitate the Gateway Vision of 203o,  National Public Relations was hired to conduct extensive research with focus groups across the lower mainland to figure out which words to use to sell this Gateway plan, and which words and phrases to avoid! Maybe it’s just me, but if this vision is such a great idea, why does it need to be” sold” to the people of Greater Vancouver?

For example, easy to sell words  include: prosperity,mobility, future. Harder to sell words are:environment, sustainability, infrastructure. And words that are a firm RED highlighted STOP NEVER USE ?  Expansion and congestion.

 Take a look, again, in PDF format which allows you to see the entire  84 page document for it’s more than a little condescending manner of looking at the citizens it wishes to push this program on.  : GatewayCon

Now, let’s sum it all up on the South Fraser Perimeter Road. It is, without a doubt, an environmental NO-GO. The federal and provincial governments planned this route through the best farmland and the most sensitive ecological areas in the province. Container traffic is down, and not likely to ever recover to previous levels one the vastly expanded Panama Canal opens. The financing on this project was difficult,the project was downgraded into a stop and go, safety nightmare, and any reason for previously pushing this road seems to have evaporated. Now Bond is looking at it as an untolled alternative to the Port Mann, which is a far from realistic alternative for many motorists, merely transplanting congestion. 

So why is this project being built?

I suspect it has something to do with real estate, valuable commercial land and developments…

The Tsawwassen band used the South Fraser Perimeter Road as a selling point in this request for expressions of interest to develop industrial lands they now control near the ferries and Deltaport. It is billed as part of the lands being in a “strategic” location. Enter the term South Fraser Perimeter Road into the search box in this PDF file to see for yourself. Tsawwassen land projects   Nice to be able to say you have an allegedly dedicated highway for a selling point, no?

Here is another sales document that advertises 27 acres of prime industrial land on Tilbury island, and again, the South Fraser Perimeter road is billed as part of this properties strategic location. ( pdf) Tilburylanddevelopmentproperty

I’m sure this is only the beginning of a rush of land sales and development we might see along that route, development that may very well see further land taken from the ALR, or further harming the delicate and vitally important ecosystem of Burns Bog.

It has  also come to my attention that another route was offered up, one that went over stable land and was far less contentious, yet the government refused to consider it and went with the current plan. Why is that- are these land sales the real reason this road was built? Shades of Sea to Sky highway !!

This is, without a doubt, the wrong project in the wrong location, at the wrong time, and Falcon has been instrumental from day one in pushing this along, with the help of his friends in the federal government.

A scathing, and horrific excerpt to leave you with, from Stephen Rees’s blog link above, one that chills me to the bone:

…the Bog is the “lungs of the lower mainland,” the largest urban carbon sink in the North America, and vital to the survival of the world’s largest salmon run in the interconnected Fraser River.

…according to Environment Canada and the regional Burns Bog Scientific Advisory Panel’s under-publicized reports, the SFPR would essentially destroy Burns Bog.

 It would also increase mortality rates along the route–with seven Delta schools within a kilometer of the highway–force hundreds of North Deltans from their homes (many heritage), and steamroll over hundreds of acres of farmland.

..also learned of an alternate route to the SFPR, known as the Hoover/Naas proposal, that carries none of the above detrimental impacts because it follows an existing rail right-of-way removed from homes, schools and the Bog. This railway is already entirely owned by the the province.

The video also provides a summary of some shocking statements uncovered amongst the government’s environmental assessment application documents, such as this one, which suggests there could be an economic upside to people getting sick from increased air pollution:

“With increased air pollution there can possibly be increased employment (e.g., in the health sector) because of the economic activity associated with correcting the results of its impacts.” (Government documents for SFPR: Technical Volume 16, pg. 39, 4.3.5 Employment)

Heard enough?  The  people of Surrey and North Delta need have been long fighting  for their quality of life. The Burns Bog Conservation Society is always in need of various forms of assistance,including donations. For more information please go to their site at : http://www.burnsbog.org/  

 

* Falcon is billing himself a “new generation in leadership”. One would do well to note that doesn’t mean a different style of leadership from Campbell, only a younger version who may be around a lot longer… for a great, in-depth look at Falcon, who is billed here as a rebel with a cause… read this article quickly, before it disappears, like these kind of links occasionally do… http://www.bcbusinessonline.ca/kevin-falcon-bc-liberal-leadership-candidate

10 thoughts on “Prelude to coming post : ” Just the facts.”

  1. ron wilton

    Whew! Does this madness have no end? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this project package also has the ‘Macquarie tentacles wrapped around it with their peculiar brand of ‘financing’ the road and eventually collecting endless tolls and the inevitable photo radar/red light fees, as well as their direct ownership of containers and various ports at the termination of this reckless road. (and God knows what else)

    Falcon must be exposed for the vile little Campbellite he is, before this insane enterprise gets momentum and cannot be stopped. They are running scared but we should be as well.

    Like

    1. Laila

      Evening Ron, Maquarie is not involved in the South Fraser Perimeter Road, they do advise on the Port Mann, and I have big story coming on that in a couple weeks. But there is far more to this story than what is written here… coming by Monday morning. Let me assure you, Falcon is very unlikely to win the leadership bid, no matter how big his list of backers gets.

      http://www.falcon2020.ca/supporters/

      We are all supporting Kevin Falcon to be the next leader of the BC Liberal Party. We believe he is the best choice to be Premier.

      ■Ryan Beedie, President, The Beedie Group
      ■Terry McBride, CEO,Nettwerk Music Group and CEO, YYoga
      ■David Aisenstat, President and CEO, Keg Restaurants
      ■Peter Armstrong, Executive Chairman and Founder, Rocky Mountaineer
      ■Kyle Washington, Chairman, Seaspan International
      ■Stan Fuller, CEO, Earl’s Restaurants
      ■John O’Neill, President and CEO, O’Neill Hotels and Resorts
      ■Tom Gaglardi, Chairman and CEO of Sandman Hotel Group
      ■Richard Jaffray, President and Founder, Cactus Club Restaurants
      ■Cam McNeill,Founder and President of MAC Marketing Solutions
      ■Carolyn Cross, CEO of Ondine Biomedical
      ■Samir Manji, CEO of Amica Mature Lifestyles
      ■Matt Young, Founder of Innovative Fitness
      ■Zahra Mamdani, President of Wear Else Fashions
      ■Paolo Kalaw, CEO of Frontier Dental Laboratories
      ■Tom Greenough, President of TomTar Roofing and Sheet Metal in Kelowna
      ■Eric Carlson, President and CEO of Anthem Properties
      ■Christian Chia, President and CEO of the OpenRoad Auto Group
      ■Roger Hardy, Chair and CEO of Coastal Contacts
      ■Jeff Fuller, President and CEO of the JOEY Restaurant Group
      ■Sarah MacNeill, Founder of MacNeill Yakamoto Recruitment Group
      ■Rob Macdonald, Owner of Macdonald Development
      ■Jeff Booth, CEO of BuildDirect
      ■Salim Karim, President and CEO of InnHouse Licensed Retail Concepts
      ■Jim Case, CEO of Travelers Financial
      ■Leah Costello, Curious Mind Productions
      ■John Vickerstaff, CEO of Network Bonding & Insurance Services
      ■Bob Cross, Chairman of Bankers Petroleum
      ■Lance Sparling, President Wakefield Home Builders in Sechelt
      ■Lorraine Cunningham, President of the Cunningham Group
      ■Tom Kramer, President and CEO of Canadian Utility Construction
      ■Steve Ashforth, President of Glastech Contracting
      ■George Horie, Producer of Sanctuary, the most successful TV series entirely owned, produced and financed in British Columbia, which airs in over 130 countries
      ■Martin Charlwood, President and COO of Uniglobe Travel
      ■Emad Yacoub, President of the Glowbal Restaurant Group
      ■Chuck van der Lee, CEO of Ananda Holdings
      ■Greg Fleck, President of ServiceWorks Distribution
      ■Tina Osen
      ■Riaz Pisani, CEO of Contac Services
      ■Christopher Philps, President of Fairborne Homes
      ■John Frostad, President of Canadian Operations of Shearer’s Foods
      ■Suki Sekhon, President CRS Group of Companies
      ■John Pacey, President of Verathon Medical
      ■Holly Gordon, Director of iPOWOW!
      ■Steven Dean, Chairman and CEO of Oceanic Iron Ore
      ■Glenn Bailey, CEO of The Bailey Group
      ■Sam Gudewell, President of the Pacific Group of Companies
      ■Roger Finnie, CEO of Pemberton Insurance
      ■Eric Savics of Haywood Securities
      Our group is growing all the time. New names will be added as they go public.

      Yes.. clearly Falcon is a whole new generation in leadership…. a whole new generation of Campbell that is…

      Also from the site :http://www.falcon2020.ca/why-kevin/

      ” Kevin does not have to call an early election, but can govern the province until the fixed election date of the spring of 2013.

      ■Someone from outside of the current caucus will need an early election to gain the mandate of the people of British Columbia.
      ■If the BC Liberal team is not united, BC could be facing an NDP government in as little as six months. We all remember the 1990′s, the lost jobs, the closed buinesses and we all know that an NDP governmemt is too big a risk to take.
      Falcon 20/20 is a group of BC business people who believe that Kevin’s experience and vision for BC make him the clear choice to be the best Premier. Falcon 20/20 is chaired by Ryan Beedie, President of The Beedie Group. ”

      Like

  2. Ian Vaughan

    A couple of points. SFPR actually starts in Port Kells, a right turn off the Golden Ears Connector, (if it gets finished). Second, I drive about 90% of the route at least twice a day, sometimes 4 times. If ever there was a situation needing a solution, it is traveling from Port Kells to Tilbury. While the container traffic is always prominent in every discussion, the bulk of the intended traffic is just the regular truck traffic you see every day holding up millions of dollars of commerce while grinding up 88th from 176 to 152, then lined up on Nordel attempting to get past the approaches to the Alex Fraser Bridge. Once down on River Road, the traffic waddles along at the pace of the slowest truck, endlessly stopping for turning traffic, then slowly waddling along until the next one.

    What is always overlooked, is that every truck out there is generating costs, financial and environmental. The holdup is reflected in higher prices in everything you buy. It is responsible for higher taxes, as all levels of government have to pay these higher costs too. With poor productivity, it is very hard to justify buying new trucks, and hiring drivers by the hour to sit in traffic. This leads many companies to use lease operators willing to sit in traffic and earn less, as they typically run older effectively worthless trucks with older engines, less maintenance, and much higher emissions.

    This highway will be used by more than just the big trucks also. Every ‘White Van Man’ you see out there, from carpet cleaners to drinking water delivery will be faster, more productive, and in the end cheaper for you in the end.

    Like

  3. Drew

    I’m salivating for the Port Mann story. I have been hearing rumors and it sounds like an unmitigated disaster for BC taxpayers. Can’t wait to see what you’ve uncovered!
    For the SFPR, I don’t know why we are gearing up for even more trade with China? China is a communist dictatorship with no respect for human rights, the rule of law, or the environment. Furthermore, the whole premise of China from the form of government and their economic system right through to their population size is completely and utterly unsustainable. Why would we destroy our farm land and raid the public purse with the SFPR just to do 20-30 years worth of unsustainable business with China?

    Like

  4. Drew

    Laila, wondering if you’ve checked into anything in regard to the 200st park and ride? Rumor I heard is that the $30m contract has been let cost-plus and will likely end up being billed out closer to $100m.

    Like

  5. Laila

    Interesting points Ian, from the view of someone who drives part of the route. Still doesn’t justify the direct route to ports though, considering it all, options etc. The project was downgraded before it was even started, and as time goes on – I haven’t checked recently – who knows what else has been axed ? Clearly the scope and motives for this project are questionable, as I will demonstrate in my next post, ” Just the facts.”

    Drew, you will have to salivate a bit longer ..lol.. so sorry to keep you waiting, but some things are beyond my control. You can do it in a rush, or you can wait and do it right. No sense in telling half the story now and the rest later, but I promise you it when it is ready, you will be able to grab a drink and sit down for a good read.

    My sources have been keeping me updated on a variety of things relating to this and other ongoing problems with the construction. I can say with all confidence that I will have answers on much of it when this story is ready. Lets just say that when my story breaks, Falcon is going to be facing some pretty challenging questions that no PR group will be able to spin.

    By the way, for those looking for a good and telling read on one of Kevin Falcons endorsements – Kyle Washington – check out this link:
    http://alisonbate.ca/maritime/maritime-8/

    At the time it was written, he was still only an American citizen,although he largely lived in Vancouver. Wonder if that is still the case, and as such, should an american be allowed to endorse a canadian politician?

    And yes, I have backup on that link.

    Like

  6. Ian Vaughan

    As for Americans endorsing candidates, I was endorsed by an American last election! The issue is whether or not an American, (or any other furriner), can donate money to a campaign. As this is technically NOT an election, I don’t know.

    Like

  7. mike

    Great reporting Laila. You are doing a great service for the people of BC.
    These fascists are getting bolder by the day. I would only add that the North American Security Perimeter is also in the mix.

    http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/12/10/f-weston-security-perimeter.html

    One of the few failures by globalists was their botched North American Union effort. Then re branded and scaled down as the SPP, security and prosperity partnership, it also failed to deliver the common currency borders and laws for Mexico the US and Canada.
    The beast never dies. Now re branded again, as the North American Security Perimeter, it is being sold as a means to ease the flow of products generating more profits! Fake opposition in Ottawa, the Liberals and NDP always do their best to pretend this NAU is not happening.
    http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/12/10/f-weston-security-perimeter.html
    Harper and Bushbama are set to sign a deal within a few weeks………shhhh, don’t tell anyone, they are trying to surprise us.
    CBC will tell us how great it is after the fact. Bless them.

    PS very astute of you to look for the connections in real estate adverts to gauge the ‘reality’ factor of this gateway project. It appears to be steaming ahead, with no opposition.
    Where are all those righteous NDP loyalists today? It would be nice to get an explanation from them on their tepid or non existent opposition to gateway.
    http://www.straight.com/article-203115/ndps-james-warms-port-mann-crossing
    They have been waffling on this from day 1, and still have no official opposition to it, and zero reference to it on their website.

    This site seems to have good info on gateway too…..
    http://stopgateway.wordpress.com/

    Like

  8. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Prelude to coming post : ” Just the facts.” | I’m Laila Yuile, And This Is How I See It

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