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Award Winning UBC Prof Blocks Freeway Construction

Gateway Work Shut Down for Four Hours

by Rob Baxter Environment

Award Winning UBC Prof Blocks Freeway Construction
Award Winning UBC Prof Blocks Freeway Construction

Also posted by b5baxter:

On Monday December 7th at UBC Professor Patrick Condon joined a group of climate activists who occupied a freeway construction site in Vancouver. Work was stopped at the site for four hours. The protest coincided with the first day of climate change talks in Copenhagen, where today Canada received yet another Fossil of the Day Award. The notorious award goes to the country doing the most to obstruct progress at UN climate negotiations.

This action was directed at the controversial Gateway Program, a massive freeway-expansion project that would increase greenhouse gases (GHGs) in a sector that is already the largest source of emissions in our region. The province's own assessment estimates the increase at over 160,000 tonnes per year. If the billions being spent on Gateway were re-directed to an emissions reduction program including cost-effective public transit, emissions could be reduced by millions of tonnes per year.

The Gateway Program is linked to a larger Pacific Gateway strategy that includes pipelines to the Alberta Tar Sands, Canada's largest point source of greenhouse gas emissions. Cars and trucks in BC already burn fuel made from tar sands bitumen, and the proportion of this dirty tar sands fuel in our gas tanks is increasing.

“As a citizen it enrages me to see Canada drag its feet on climate change through support of the world’s dirtiest fuel: tar sands,” said Patrick Condon. “As a resident it breaks my heart to see the Vancouver region abandon livability and sustainability through the construction of more freeways. And as a parent, I can’t look my kids and grandkids in the face if I don't do whatever I can to stop this madness.”

Approximately fifty people were involved in the protest. At one point construction workers moved a piece of equipment on to the site. Police physically removed protesters blocking the equipment but there were no arrests.  One protester was thrown to the ground and another was hit in the throat by police. After parking the equipment workers left and did not resume work until after the protestors were gone from the site.

Patrick Condon is a senior researcher at the UBC Design Centre for Sustainability and has held the position of the James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Livable Environments. Condon was joined by diverse group including small business owners, graduate students, farmers, church leaders and the son of renowned urbanist Jane Jacobs.

For more info on this event and the Gateway Project see
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Video from this action here

Video from this action here

Pacific Gateway Program

Finally, and at long last, they are widening the Trans-Canada Highway through the Lower Mainland. This much needed improvement should have happened three decades earlier. No amount of public transit will ever be as effective as an urban freeway system and anyone who thinks that public transit is better has their head so firmly stuck in the sand that they are completely out of touch with reality. Get a job where you have to get out into the real world on a regular basis and see how much you like wasting many hours of your precious life stuck in a crowded bus instead of enjoying the freedom and mobility of your comfortable automobile... with a Timmies or Starbucks at your right hand. My hat goes off to those visionaries in the BC Government that made this freeway expansion happen.

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