Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Yesterday’s news

with 12 comments

Thanks to Eric Doherty on the Livable Blog I have a list of stories that covered the announcement yesterday of the SFPR.

He gives prominence to  the Province and the Surrey Now because they at least gave some coverage to what the people waving placards outside were saying. The Surrey Leader just quotes two of the signs. Which is a pity. Because I would have liked the opportunity to meet Jeff Nagel. (Terry Malewski of the CBC just walked past us on the other side of the road and so far appears to have ignored the whole event.)  The Vancouver Sun assigned two people who wrote less than almost anyone else and much of that is about what is happening in other provinces. No mention at all of people who live here who might have genuine concerns about trucks in their neighbourhood. Metro has a very short bit but points to the three firms bidding on the contract which has yet to be awarded – even though construction has started.

The choice of pictures is telling too. Only the Province showed one of the protestors. All the others went for a picture of Harper – alone – many just using one of the stock images. Except the Sun which does not put pictures in its web stories.  Not one picture of the assembled throng of politicians – which included Stockwell Day, Gordon Campbell, Kevin Falcon – and quite possibly others too. I cannot be sure since the politicians seemed to be avoiding driving past the banners.

And to this list I can now add a video (thanks to Carmen Mills of gatewaysucks for these links)

Some very postive coverage in the Tyee’s Hook blog which gives a voice to Don Hunt, of Delta’s Sunbury neighborhood association and also Barry Bartlett, corporate communications director for the Prince Rupert Port Authority!

And there was also coverage on News1130 – I heard that yesterday as I going home so they may have been one of the first with the story in the mainstream media. They are also the only news outlet that is showing where this new road will hit hardest – not that it is exactly legible or even linked to a larger image.

MoTH map of the SFPR

MoTH map of the SFPR

Afterthought – credit should also go to Matt Burrows at the Georgia Strait who had the protesters’ views on line before the announcement

I think you are all well advised to stick with new media for better and more timely coverage

Written by Stephen Rees

January 13, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Gateway

12 Responses

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  1. Hi Stephen,

    My question: was there anything new, from either side (protesters or government), about the SFPR? Anything we didn’t already know?

    I honestly don’t know, but maybe you do. I read the news and nothing looked very new to me.

    My sense is that reporters were more interested in access to the Premier, PM because of the Olympic Village issue.

    Lisa Johnson

    Lisa Johnson

    January 13, 2009 at 1:13 pm

  2. As a side note relevant to a tunnel for a freight route (as was suggested for the SFPR), industrial protestors in Seattle are objecting to the recent decision to rebuild the Alaskan Way Viaduct in a tunnel:

    “After protesting outside, Dixon came in and sharply questioned the governor about how fuels, paints, and other hazardous materials would get past downtown, since they would not be allowed inside a tunnel.”

    Ron C.

    January 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm

  3. Lisa

    I think you are right – and that is certainly the way the CBC dealt with it. Vaughan Palmer of the Sun has also taken that view and says there is very little for him to write about. What this means of course is that Falcon’s “done deal” (he has been saying that all along) has come to be. No matter that the road is not needed, and will have severe detrimental effects that are not mitigated at all and is going to cost more than a billion that is desperately needed –
    for better transit.

    The governments have “got away” with little public consultation, poor assessment methodology and a huge bonus for their friends the developers – many of whom were buying up land along the route before it was finalised – at great public expense.

    And no, none of this is news. It is still a great shame.

    Stephen Rees

    January 13, 2009 at 1:47 pm

  4. I’ll just point out that all of the media and some of the politicians did drive through the protest gauntlet, and Harper and some of the other bigwigs, even though they fled via a back exit, still had to drive through a corrider of unmanned signs planted in the ground along the sides of the road.

    I’d also like to point out that “construction” has not exactly started yet. It’s just preparatory work in some areas.


    January 13, 2009 at 1:56 pm

  5. A little off topic but relevant to the discussion – not sure if you saw this article Stephen it is from the Washington Monthly discussing the need for infrastructure money for American railways. I have a feeling that railways in Canada gave up shorthall freight to trucking industry in the name of efficiently and the unit train. At one time every distribution depot and warehouse had a rail siding, these are long gone and the service replaced by the trucking industry.


    January 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm

  6. I had not seen that article Ron, thank you

    What I noticed yesterday on River Road was the number of trucks operated by CN. They have a very big intermodal operation and a lot of the traffic is generated by their Thornton Yard in North Surrey.

    As you say the day of the way freight and siding with one or two cars in it is largely over – though I know of a few operations which persist locally. Much of the truck traffic the Gateway will generate could be eliminated altogether by better planning and locating logistics operations most of which have moved away from the port into the suburbs in search of cheaper land.

    Prior to the creation of the GVTA there was not even a freight version of the regional transportation model! Unfortunately that was quickly co-opted by the Gateway Council for their own ends.

    Stephen Rees

    January 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm

  7. Just on BCTV News (6PM) today, it was announced that the Port Mann Bridge project is jeopardy because the international banks can’t come to an agreement over the P-3 contract.

    More to follow tomorrow.

    Malcolm J.

    January 13, 2009 at 6:21 pm

  8. When I worked in Toronto in the late 70s prior to moving to Vancouver (a non-unionized job at $ 10 pr hr-in the late 70s!) the huge warehouse had a rail siding inside the warehouse! The goods were unloaded and sorted then eventually loaded in trucks for medium and short distance delivery. In Europe, Japan etc. goods are still delivered by trains though, to be fair, there are also lots of long-distance trucks. In Europe trucks drive thousands of km per trip between countries (trucks aren’t allowed on freeways on Sundays and long weekends) but the opposition against that is mounting, especially after a truck or long distance bus is involved in some horrific accident.

    Red frog

    January 13, 2009 at 8:06 pm

  9. The Swiss have banned foreign trucks from driving through their country. If they want to get past they have to load the truck onto a train – and the driver gets a comfortable seat in one of the trains coaches and there is a buffet car too.

    The Germans make all trucks carry a transponder and they have to pay for the road distance they cover.

    Most countries in Europe spend a lot of public money to keep their railways running well and to improve their rail systems.

    Stephen Rees

    January 13, 2009 at 8:49 pm

  10. It is my belief that Austria also requires all truck transiting the country must be put on a train as well.

    Malcolm J.

    January 14, 2009 at 8:29 am

  11. The loading docks of Yaletown used to have railway sidings along side (they’re probably still there on Mainland Street and Hamilton Street under the pavement) – spurs from the rail yards that used to exist on the north shors of False Creek.

    Ron C.

    January 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm

  12. The Port Kells industrial area appears to be served by rail spurs. The Golden Ears connector road flys over Telegraph Trail road and this rail spur from the mainline into the Port Kells industrial area:,-122.679359&spn=0.001725,0.004828&t=h&z=18

    The overpass is the bump in the distance in this shot from the Golden Ears Bridge website.

    Ron C.

    January 14, 2009 at 2:40 pm

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