Even a broken clock is right twice a day
I admit I always enjoy reading letters written by Joe Sawchuk. Even though I usually disagree with his diatribes and am often disturbed by his freely expressed contempt for those of us with less conservative opinions, he does have an entertaining style. Hopefully he feels the same way about those of us whose letters sometimes point out his occasional errors of logic and overenthusiastic condemnations. If you are reading this response, Joe, please sit down and prepare yourself for a shock, because for once I completely agree with your letter regarding the proponents of a Duncan bypass.
Believe me, I am just as surprised as you are.
Since Mr. Sawchuk has so effectively disposed of the issue of cost, allow me to go a little further in support to address the issue of feasibility. Just where do the bypass proponents imagine it can be built? If we go to the east we would have to expropriate native land. Even if we ignore the political issues involved in nonconsensual confiscation and treaty rights, the land itself is all flood plain and screamingly unsuitable. My own experience negotiating with issues that involve the courts, both federal and provincial governments and the various environmental groups lead me to predict that construction would not begin in my grandchildren’s lifetime.
Obviously we cannot use the old railway line, which runs through the downtown core. I suppose we could run through Sahtlam and Somenos, once again providing we were prepared to expropriate the native land to get us across the river. Given that the same intergovernmental cooperation would be required I fear that we would see results sometime after the Canucks actually win the Stanley Cup. Mr. Sawchuk has already established that we can’t just build a viaduct; perhaps we can dig a tunnel.
When I was a child we did build a bypass where the current highway runs. My father was the Island editor of the Colonist at that time and I remember the excellent reporting of his Duncan correspondent Klaus Muenter, who freely predicted that the bypass would soon be covered with gas stations and strip malls. I will take this opportunity to suggest that the same will happen to whatever neighbourhood we decide to sacrifice, should we be so foolish. We are stuck with what we have, and there are no viable options. As Joe Sawchuk clearly states, “a bypass is only a dream that will never happen.”