Monday, April 27, 2009

Burns Bog Pilgrimage

Burns Bog Pilgrimage
Originally uploaded by Rob__
Over 100 people participated in a pilgrimage to Burns Bog on Sunday. The event organized by a multi-faith coalition had participants walk over the Alex Fraser bridge and then though the Delta Nature Conservancy.

The pilgrimage was designed to draw attention to the damage that the South Fraser Primeter Road (SFPR) will cause to the environmentally sensitive bog.

Burns Bog has been listed as threatened by the International Mire Conservation Group because of the impacts of the SFPR. In response to the mitigation measures proposed the Environmental Stewardship Branch of Environment Canada wrote that "...that the changes are not sufficient to alleviate its concerns related to the impacts of the Project on Pacific Water Shrew (PWS), hydrology, aerial deposition, and ecological integrity of Burns Bog."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

10,000 people (and two polar bears) Petition Premier

VANCOUVER - The Society Promoting Environmental Conservation and the Wilderness Committee delivered petitions with over 10,000 signers to the Premier's office today. The petitions ask that the government cancel the Gateway Program's highway expansion components and invest more in transit instead.

The gateway program is a transportation infrastructure project that includes over 260 km of new highway lanes.

Dozens of activists rallied outside the office in downtown Vancouver including two dressed as polar bears.  The premier's office initially declined to accept the invitations.  After the activists attempted to enter the nearby convention centre where the premier was speaking, staff working with the Premier agreed to accept the petitions.

“Translink is currently exhausting its capital reserves just to keep existing service going,” said Karen Wristen, Executive Director of SPEC. “At this rate, they will be broke in two years. We simply can’t afford both freeway expansion and transit development: we have to solve the transit crisis first.”

“It will be virtually impossible to reach BC’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) if Gateway is allowed to proceed. Gateway is not just an irresponsible plan, it’s immoral,” said Ben West, the Wilderness Committee’s Healthy Communities Campaigner.

The government calculates that greenhouse gas emissions will increase by over 170,000 tonnes per year from the Gateway program.

Premeir Gordon Campbell has not yet responded directly to the petition. In recent interviews he has defended the Gateway Program.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Banners Hung over 20 Bridges

Saturday also saw citizens from West Vancouver to Chilliwack hoist banners on Highway 1 overpasses across the region in a coordinated Day of Action, with slogans such as "Stop the Gateway to Global Warming" and "Better Transit, Not Freeways". Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in BC, and the protestors said emissions are expected to rise substantially if the Gateway Project is built.

Activists South of the Fraser also marked the riding office of provincial Highways Minister Kevin Falcon a "Global Warming Crime Scene" Saturday morning, and piled sand used by Ministry contractors for highway construction in front of the door.

"Kevin Falcon is a Climate Criminal, bulldozing us with freeways, and roasting the planet with greenhouse gases," said Surrey resident Jim Shook as he attached large strips of yellow "Global Warming Crime Scene" tape across the door to Falcon's office. "In solidarity with the region-wide Day of Action on Highway 1, we declare this a 'Global Warming Crime Scene' and return this freeway construction material to let him know that he should cancel the Gateway project immediately."

The activists emptied buckets of highway construction sand in front of the office, taken from an area of recently bulldozed homes in Surrey's Bridgeview neighbourhood that is being dumped with sand to prepare for possible construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road.

According to Bridgeview resident Sonia Nazar, "Kevin Falcon has raped our community for his billion dollar freeway scheme, but our transit system is still starved for cash. Would he do this to his own neighbourhood?"

"Thousands of people from throughout Metro Vancouver have signed petitions against Gateway," says Carmen Mills, spokesperson for "The people of the region are clearly opposed to this project, and we will make our voices heard. With this action, we're saying it loud and clear: No Falcon Freeways!"

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Gateway Day of Action: Minister Falcon's Office Declared "Crime Scene"