Opinion

Editorial: Progress comes at a price

The completion of the South Fraser Perimeter Road (expected in December, 2013) will bring with it increased trade and further cement Delta's growing position as an economic hub in the Lower Mainland.

Port facilities will be easier to access, goods will be cheaper and easier to ship, and fewer dollars will be wasted while stuck idling in traffic.

Development of the Tilbury and Sunbury industrial areas will not only provide local jobs, but ease the tax burden on residential ratepayers.

There is no doubt the new route is badly needed.

However, the economic benefit the road brings comes at a price.

The road travels through some of the most important and sensitive wetland areas in the Lower Mainland.

While no infrastructure project, building, or development can be built without some negative consequences to the environment, the provincial government has done much to ensure the damage is as little as possible.

Crews are planting native vegetation along the road, installing wildlife habitat, and migration corridors.

The road itself forms a barrier around Burns Bog, helping to prevent excessive water drainage.

But it is not enough to merely mitigate the environmental impact of a project.

If we are to be responsible stewards of the environment, we must seek to improve its condition.

The SFPR fails in this regard.

Given construction on the project began prior to the completion of its environmental assessment, it is clear that protecting the sensitive ecology of Burns Bog and the surrounding area is nothing but an afterthought.

Progress comes at a price.

But how long can nature afford it?

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