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Is the Massey Tunnel replacement a key issue in Delta's civic election?

Last Updated Sep 28, 2018 at 9:04 am PDT

FILE - Massey Tunnel traffic backed up on May 6, 2015 (NEWS 1130 file photo)

MLA for Delta North says Massey Tunnel is a provincial decision, mayoral candidates shouldn't be focused on the issue

Three mayoral candidates say people in Delta are telling them the Massey Tunnel is a high priority

DELTA (NEWS 1130) – The people running to be the next mayor of Delta seem to agree: Replacing the Massey Tunnel is a top priority for whoever is elected.

But Ravi Kahlon, NDP MLA for Delta North, said this is a provincial decision and candidates shouldn’t be focused on this issue.

He argued if everyone running for mayor believes the Massey Tunnel needs to be replaced, then what’s there to discuss? “All three candidates are saying that they want a solution. They want it done right away.”

“It isn’t the singular and biggest issue, when deciding who is going to be the mayor or council. That’s generally what I’m hearing back from people,” he said.

But mayoral candidate Jim Cessford disagrees. “I hear from almost everyone about the Massey Tunnel.”

“It’s a huge problem. There are traffic backups every day,” he said.

“Whether it be a bridge or a tunnel, people seem to be really concerned about it.”

RELATED: Delta MLA not optimistic, with no sign of Massey Tunnel replacement in sight

George Harvie is also on the mayoral ballot. He said he’s hearing from people in Delta loud and clear. “They expect the mayor and council to be advocates to fix this bottleneck.”

“All residents in Delta want to see that bottleneck fixed,” he added.

Sylvia Bishop is also on the ballot. She said traffic at the tunnel is a priority for her, but she sees Kahlon’s argument. “It’s very much in the hands of the provincial government to decide what option we’re going to get, crossing the river.”

She said she’s been hearing the Massey replacement is a top issue in the campaign. “The number one, certainly in South Delta, is ‘What about the bridge replacement project?’ Something has to be done.”

“I’ve reached the conclusion that the bridge is the best option,” she added.

RELATED: See how traffic settles before we talk about Massey Tunnel replacement: transportation minister

But the future remains unclear, as we’re still waiting to hear from the province about the independent technical review of the Massey replacement, which was due out this past spring.

Kahlon believes the bigger issues in Delta are housing, strengthening community ties, and improving city services.