Monday, September 10, 2007

1996: The Environmental Stone Age?

It looks like Derek Corrigan and his rabidly anti-Gateway Burnaby Council are back on the offensive against the widening of Highway 1.

At their August 27th meeting, they passed a 7 to 2 motion instructing staff to refuse negotiations with the Province over a few patches of city-owned land needed by the project. They say they won't relent until the Province agrees to meet their demands.

If you ask me, Corrigan's approach sounds a lot more like a public sector labour negotiation than it does like a sober, constructive problem-solving dialogue between two levels of government. But then Derek Corrigan isn't known for his ability to work well with other levels of government; or even with neighbouring municipalities for that matter.

A friend of mine who tapes Burnaby council meetings loaned me his copy so I could watch the whole thing for myself. As you might expect, Corrigan and his council mates served up a cornucopia of anti-Gateway pontificating, with a jumbo portion of wild-eyed speculation about how the earth will cease to spin if the Port Mann Bridge is twinned and Highway 1 gets widened; the usual kind of stuff that tends to waft out of Burnaby's council chamber.

The highlight was watching Derek Corrigan skate around his support for the 1996 widening of Highway 1 under the NDP while at the same time condemning the current plan. Here's how he attempted to rationalise his way around the inherent paradox of that one:

"We didn't know all of the environmental implications – and neither did our staff – of creating more highway and what implications it would have on water table levels, for instance, at Burnaby lake.... We didn't have, eleven years ago, nearly the understanding of the environmental and greenhouse gas implications of increasing single occupancy vehicles; but we were aware enough to say that public transportation was a better alternative...."

Corrigan makes it sound like the NDP widened Highway 1 back in the stone age when nobody knew that if you rubbed two sticks together you could start a fire. Give me break; it was fricking 1996 not 96 million B.C.!

And I won't even try to wrap my head around Corrigan's knife-edge claim that he didn't know anything about the environment back in 1996 but still had enough knowledge to be able to conclude that “public transportation was a better alternative....” Well, which is it Derek? Did you know or didn’t you know? 1996 wasn’t an environmental Dark Age!

So, where do things go from here now that Corrigan and his council mates have gone on strike against the Provincial Government? I predict the Gateway project will proceed on schedule: Highway 1 will get widened (properly this time) and the Port Mann Bridge will be expanded to eight much-needed lanes.

But above all else, I predict that the sun will continue to rise each morning and the earth will continue to spin when the Gateway project is completed, even for Derek Corrigan, whether he likes it or not!

Carl Congestion


At October 24, 2007 1:34 PM , Anonymous said...

Corrigan and his crew have an annoying tendancy to flap their gums about things they know nothing about, be it responsibilty for the oil spill or the expansion of Metrotown station, which will allow "8 car MK 1 trains"....well that's just great, too bad you won't be able to alight at any other station!


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